10 years after Chibok, still asking Mr. President, where are our girls?

10 years after chibok - #bringbackourgirls

It was supposed to be just another night in the hostel—a familiar routine for millions of Nigerian girls. Yet, a decade ago, what began as a typical evening at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State spiraled into a nightmare—that night marked the beginning of a harrowing journey of trauma, torture, and turmoil that would change the lives of those girls forever.

On the cold night of April 14–15, 2014, a group of girls, mostly aged between 16 and 18 and predominantly Christian, were forcibly taken from their school by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. Despite the escalating insecurity in Borno State, these girls were at school to take their final Physics exams when they tragically encountered the brutality of the Boko Haram militants. However, 57 of them managed a daring escape by jumping from the moving truck and fleeing into the surrounding bush, evading their captors.

While in captivity, the girls were forced to convert to Islam, marry their abductors, and carry children for them. Those who refused to do these things were forced into slavery and were beaten brutally and, in some cases, raped and killed by these militants. So far, an estimated number of 89 girls are still missing, according to the Borno State government.

In the years that followed 

A decade has passed since the abduction of the girls from their hostels. Over these years, some have been released, while others have tragically been killed, abused, or forced into slavery. Throughout this time, the efforts of the Nigerian government to #BringBackOurGirls have unfortunately seemed lackluster.

In an interview with Arise TV, Amina Ali, a freed Chibok girl, explained her experience as a survivor of the brutality of Boko Haram. Like many other girls who were abducted by the Islamic terrorist sect, Amina was forced to marry and have children for the Boko Haram militants. Despite being aware of the condition of her child’s birth, Amina has still felt ostracised in her old community for being an abductee. 

“I was 17 years old when we were abducted. Now, I must be a mother and work, caring for my mum and my family,” she said. People abuse me and my child, calling him a Boko Haram child. That alone has made me leave Chibok entirely. I no longer live there.” 

After undergoing rehabilitation to reintegrate into society, the Chibok girls have faced the harsh reality of returning to a community that feels far from welcoming. This is a significant issue.


While speaking to Jeff Okoroafor, a political analyst advocate championing the #BringBackOurGirls movement alongside notable individuals like Aisha Yesufu, he mentioned that the #BringBackOurGirls movement is never-ending and that the people have not given up on finding them. 

“We have not given up on the Chibok girls, our chance, and I promise that as long as one person stands for the Chibok girls, we have a chance of bringing them all back home.”

Demonstrating remarkable courage, dedication, and persistence in advocating for victims of such violence, Jeff Okoroafor and everyone involved in the #BringBackOurGirls Movement have devised several policies to assist the government in addressing the persistent issue of kidnappings in Nigeria. One such solution is creating an accessible public database for missing persons.

Okoroafor also pointed out the challenges encountered in dealing with the government over the past decade, highlighting a significant need for more cooperation between the government and its organisations. This includes the need for a missing person’s register and database.

“During Osibanjo’s tenure, the current president, Tinubu, served on the committee tasked with creating a missing person database for Nigeria. Unfortunately, those plans never materialised. We proposed establishing a desk dedicated to missing persons within the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, but this was never implemented. We even submitted various documents to the Nigerian government outlining rehabilitation plans for those who had been abducted.  Sadly, none of these measures were adopted,” he lamented.

Despite their endless efforts to bring an end to the menace that is Boko Haram, people are forced to conduct remembrances and have decade-long anniversaries that are evidence of the worst type of security issues a country could have.

Looking forward 

Over the past decade, the Nigerian government has failed to rescue the 276 girls abducted in 2014. What has become of the policies meant to protect them? Where is the commitment from the Nigerian Defense? What actions is the presidency taking to resolve the persistent insecurity in the north? The lack of decisive action has had dire consequences: countless more children have been torn from their parents’ arms, and thousands of people remain missing.

Jeff Okoroafor elaborated more on the need for the presidency to act:

“Tinubu had carried a placard before. Since he assumed office, not once has he spoken about his plans to free the girls on a global scale. I want the government to remember their promises. If Buhari did not fulfil his promise, it would be time to come back to the drawing board.”

As we reflect on the tragic abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014—the girls we’ve lost and those who have survived to share their harrowing experiences with Boko Haram—we continue to stand firmly with the #BringBackOurGirls movement. We demand action for the Chibok girls and every woman who has suffered under religious oppression, exacerbated by the Nigerian government’s apathetic approach to national security issues.

To everyone who initially supported the #BringBackOurGirls movement: the job is not done. The girls are not all back. It’s time to move beyond just holding placards. Raise your voices, use your influence, and actively contribute to bringing our girls back. Merely appearing in front of cameras, giving speeches, laying bricks at schools, or creating promotional campaigns is not enough. Passive advocacy or using this crisis for publicity does not suffice. Until every child, mother, man, and woman is safe from the threat of kidnappers and religious extremists, none of us are truly safe.

A decade has passed, and we are still asking: Mr. President, where are our girls?



  • Grace Hans-Bello

    In love with all things artsy and beautiful. That, of course, includes the women I write about.

  • ChiAmaka Dike

    Chiamaka is the Features Editor at Marie Claire Nigeria. She is a woman who is passionate about God, women, and top-notch storytelling in all formats. Send all feature pitches her way - chiamaka@marieclaire.ng

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