On the night of April 14, 2014, a lot of lives changed. The world froze over, and time stopped. 276 girls, aged 16-18 years old were kidnapped by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, from a government-owned secondary school in Chibok, Borno State. Some girls were lucky enough to have either escaped immediately after capture or were rescued by the Nigerian Armed Forces, However, a good number of them (about 96) are still missing.
The aftermath of the bizarre kidnapping spurred the revolutionary #BringBackOurGirls movement that caught national and international attention, leading countries like the USA and China to intervene and render assistance in what was termed a “dark period in Nigerian history.”
It’s 2023 and people seemed to have forgotten about the events in Chibok. The hashtag is no longer trending, there’s no awareness about the situation, and the government has gone radio silent about it. Why is no one talking about the fact that a large number of teenage girls were kidnapped from school? Why has the concern dwindled? Where is the outrage, hurt, and anger of 2014? Where is that fire that was poured into protests and rallies demanding that the government bring our girls home?
Most importantly, where are our girls? What happened to them? Are they safe? Are they alive?
When tragedy strikes, one begins to question what could have been done differently. If the girls had missed their Physics exam, maybe they wouldn’t have been kidnapped. If there was adequate security, maybe they would’ve lived to their fullest potential. If the residents of Chibok had listened to their neighbors warn them about the incoming attack, maybe this tragedy would have never occurred.
Families mourned and are still in mourning over this mess. It’s one thing to know that your loved one is dead, it’s quite another thing to not know whether they are dead or alive. That’s a different form of torture that no one should ever be made to go through. Sending your female child to school, in a world where females are the least educated, should not be the source of a parent’s pain. It’s not normal, matter of fact, it’s sickening.
Thinking about the torture, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse the girls must have gone through is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine. Terrorists are not known to be nice, so no doubt the girls must have gone through fifty shades of hell. And all for what? What was their only crime? Getting an education!
Again, where are our girls? It has been 9 years now and we deserve answers. The families of the girls deserve closure. Nigerians deserve an explanation. 9 years is more than enough time to provide an explanation.
On the anniversary of their kidnapping, a short film titled Boy Meets Girl was made available for streaming on YouTube. Directed by award-winning Nigerian American filmmaker, Kaelo Iyizoba and produced by Adnaan Muhammed-Ali and Conrad Johnson-Omodiagbe, the film offers a detailed insight into the happenings of that night, along with an honest take on terrorism and how it affects citizens.
It won the esteemed award for Outstanding Experimental Film at the 2021 Abuja International Film Festival and garnered praise for its effective and persuasive storytelling. If you want to relive an agonizing moment, through the eyes of girls that lived to tell the tale, then you should watch the short film. Every Nigerian who was directly and remotely affected by the kidnapping should watch it because if they did, the spark of 2014 would be ignited once again.
The #BringBackOurGirls movement needs to take centre stage. There needs to be some sort of momentum to get people interested in the case that rocked the world. Maybe then, our 96 girls would be brought back home, to the people that love them the most.
Watch the short film here.