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Amnesty says FG’s ‘failure’ to protect children 9 years after Chibok abduction emboldening impunity

Amnesty says FG’s ‘failure’ to protect children 9 years after Chibok abduction emboldening impunity
April 14
09:52 2023

Amnesty International says lack of accountability for crimes against children in Nigeria is emboldening impunity.

In a statement on Thursday, Isa Sanusi, acting director of Amnesty International Nigeria, described the kidnappings that have taken place since the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls as an utter failure of the federal government to protect children.

Till date, 98 out of the 276 Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram remain in captivity.

Although there have been rescues, a plethora of schools have been targeted, with girls being abducted, raped, killed or forced into marriages.

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Sanusi faulted the federal government for “not carrying out a single credible investigation” into the security failures that left children vulnerable to the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and gunmen.

“Parents of the 98 Chibok school girls who are still being held by Boko Haram — as well as other children abducted by gunmen — are living in anguish, knowing that their children are in the hands of ruthless individuals who subject their loved ones to chilling brutalities,” the acting director said.

“It is beyond time that the Nigerian authorities took meaningful action to counter armed groups like Boko Haram and gunmen. Nigeria has an obligation to implement safeguards to protect all children, and the lack of accountability for these callous crimes is fueling impunity. The missing Chibok school girls should be returned home to their families, and all those responsible for committing grave violations must face justice.”

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‘PARENTS ARE LOSING HOPE’ 
Sanusi said conversations with parents of some of the abducted Chibok girls still in captivity showed that they were losing hope of being reunited with their children.

He said the parents no longer communicate with their children and expressed fears that the girls who refused to be married to their captors were experiencing brutal treatment.

They accused the Nigerian government of abandoning them.

“Our pain is endless because 14 of the girls came back with 24 children. We have with us grandchildren whose fathers are unknown to us. Our burden has now multiplied as we do not have the money to bear the additional burden of feeding, educating, and [providing] healthcare for our returnee children and grandchildren. This is in addition to the societal rejection and stigma that we are all facing. We are just hopeless!” Amnesty International Nigeria quoted one of the parents as saying.

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Sanusi added that some returnees said they have lost all hope that their counterparts would ever be rescued.

“The Nigerian government should not forget about the remaining 98 girls. They should be rescued. Every morning I wake up and recall the condition I left them in. I cry, I feel sorry for them. Nine years is too long to be in such a deplorable condition. The government must fulfill its promise of rescuing all the girls,” Amnesty International quoted a returnee as saying.

The acting director urged the government to increase efforts in re-uniting the abducted girls with their parents and prioritise the safety of children in the country.

“Rescuing the remaining Chibok girls is of paramount importance; the task of finding them should not become yet another failed project of the government. It is absolutely crucial that the outgoing government of Nigeria does all in its power to bring these girls — as well as all other children being held by various armed groups — home to their families,” he said.

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