Boko Haram's fury continues
Nigeria is virtually helpless when it comes to Boko Haram getting away with mass abduction and murder. Indeed, according to UNICEF, the terror group Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria in the last five years. "Since 2013, more than 1000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, including 276 girls taken from their secondary school in the town of Chibok in 2014," the statement said. The Chibok abduction sparked global outrage and reignited the fight against the ISIS-aligned terrorist group. Some of the girls were finally freed three years later, following negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram. But more than 100 of them remain in captivity. Children, particularly young girls, are vulnerable to attacks by the militant group and the agency said they have been "consistently targeted and exposed to brutal violence in their homes, schools, and public places." Children have the right to education and protection and the classroom must be a place where they are safe from harm. Last year, Boko Haram released a video where they showed veiled girls they claimed were Chibok girls saying they would never return. The "Bring Back Our Girls" group has long campaigned for the return of the Chibok girls through protest marches, rallies and sit-ins. But the efforts have been in vain. They have clashed repeatedly with the Jonathan and Buhari administrations as they pressurised them over the return of the schoolgirls. Schools have been long been a focus of attack for the Boko Haram who recently kidnapped 110 schoolgirls from Dapchi, Yobe State, northeast Nigeria. All the girls have now been reunited with their families after they were freed by the Boko Haram. Since the conflict started nearly nine years ago, around 2,295 teachers have been killed and more than 1400 schools destroyed, as per UNICEF. Osai Ojigho, Director, Amnesty International, Nigeria, joined in the voices calling for the Nigerian government to do more to keep schools safe in the country. "The time is long overdue for the government to deliver meaningful action on behalf of all these victims of Boko Haram's crimes. This starts by doing more to secure the release of the hundreds still being held, including the remaining Chibok girls still in captivity." Amnesty also called for better record keeping of missing and displaced, especially in IDP camps. "Far more support must also be provided for past victims," Ojigbo said. "For the families of those still missing, the government must open a register for abducted people, ensuring that the tens of thousands of people living in displacement camps get the opportunity to register their loved ones."