When extremists – thought to be members of the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād (JAS) and commonly referred to a Boko Haram – abducted more than 200 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State in 2014, the tragedy resulted in the education facility being closed.
The abductions sent shock waves around the world. The town attracted huge international attention and global outrage.
But on Monday, June 7, state governor Babagana Umara Zulum and Pauline Tallen, the minister of women affairs, reopened the school. This followed Zulum’s approval in November last year for the facility to be renovated.
Ana David, a resident of the Chibok Local Government Area, told RNI reporter Alkali Mustapha that she was happy about the school’s reopening.
She said they had been forced to send their children to other schools in the seven years the school was closed after the abductions.
“We are delighted to have our school reopened. It means our children will no longer have to travel to faraway places to be taught. But we will never forget what happened to the school seven years ago. It is something that no one living in this town will ever forget.”
Apart from new classrooms, the remodelled school now has a computer room, laboratory and a library. Strict security measures have also been put in place.
Adamu Kautukari, a Chibok resident, said: “Our children won’t have to sit at home. They can go to school close by.”
He said although there was a primary school in Chibok, older children had to be sent to secondary schools in Maiduguri in Borno State or in Hong in Adamawa State.
“We know the value of education and that’s why we could not allow our children to miss out by not going to school. I know I can speak for most, if not all, parents – we are very happy the school has been reopened,” Kautukari said.
In April 2014, 276 mostly Christian female students aged from 16 to 18 were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok. Prior to the raid the school had been closed for four weeks because of deteriorating security conditions. But the girls had returned to take their final exams in physics.
About 11pm, trucks of militants forced 276 girls from their dorms on to trucks and drove towards the Sambisa forest, a nature reserve the JAS had made their stronghold.
Some of the schoolgirls – 57 – escaped by jumping from the trucks. Others were rescued by soldiers. But more than 100 girls remain in captivity and some are believed to be dead.
Amnesty International has said there have been many more abductions of schoolchildren since then. It said there had been five more between December 2020 and March 2021 alone. The aid organisation said the frequency of these attacks showed just how unsafe Nigerian schools had become. It said lack of justice had only emboldened the perpetrators