The Northern Christian Youth Professionals, a Nigerian group, has sent a message to the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, appealing to him to work towards securing the release of the remaining abducted Chibok school girls. This plea comes nine years after 276 students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, were kidnapped by the Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014. The incident sparked outrage and condemnation from both local and international media, with political leaders and activists putting pressure on former President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue the girls, while offering intelligence and technical support. The pressure continued after the Jonathan administration elapsed and the incumbent President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) emerged as the new leader in 2015. Despite the efforts and interventions put in by the Buhari government to facilitate their freedom after the kidnapping, nearly 100 of the girls remain missing. The Amnesty International has pegged the current number of students still held captive by the radical Islamic sect at 98.
In a statement issued in Abuja, on Friday, the chairman of Northern Christian Youth Professionals, Isaac Abrak, joined Nigerians and the rest of the world to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the schoolgirls’ abduction. While acknowledging that the Buhari government tried its best to have some of the girls released, Abrak urged the president-elect to make the freedom of the remaining captives one of his priorities. He expressed his sympathy for the families and loved ones of the abducted girls who have had to endure pain and trauma over the years.
Abrak also called on Tinubu to strengthen security in schools, particularly in Northern Nigeria, to prevent further abductions. He highlighted the recent abduction of 10 school children in Awon community, Kachia Local Government Area in Kaduna State on 4th April 2021 as a reminder that this problem is still present. He stressed that protecting schools from terrorism will encourage education in the region and empower children and youths to reject falsehoods that foster terrorism in Nigeria.
Finally, Abrak encouraged the incoming government to engage in both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to fight terrorism. He suggested equipping security personnel with state-of-the-art weapons and improving their emoluments as well as addressing root causes of terrorism such as poverty, unemployment, and social inequality. He also proposed countering extremist propaganda and ideology through education and public awareness campaigns.