Nineteen months after the 234 female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State were abducted from their school by Boko Haram insurgents, and six months into the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the campaign for rescue of the girls by a group with a hash tag #BringBackOurGirls, BBOG, has lost steam.
#BringBackOurGirls was initiated last year by Hadiza Bala Usman and former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili purportedly to mobilise public support for the rescue of about 234 schoolgirls allegedly kidnapped in Chibok Town, Borno State, Nigeria on April 15, 2014.
The fate of the hapless school girls was a major issue before the presidential election as the failure of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue the girls was used by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to campaign against him.
The campaign took political coloration during the electioneering campaign as observers accused the organizers of #BringBackOurGirls of advancing the partisan interests of the then opposition APC to undermine the last PDP administration.
The allegation was a fallout of open acknowledgement by APC chieftain and incumbent minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was an offshoot of the APC, a statement for which he later apologized after massive public criticism and outrage.
The organization which was very vocal and visible during the last administration as they took over the Unity Fountain gradually disappeared from public radar after the founder, Hadiza Bala Usman was appointed into the Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee of Muhammadu Buhari.
Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai later appointed the #BringBackOurGirls co-founder as his chief of staff.
Governor El-Rufai also acknowledged that Hadiza Usman is an active card-carrying member of the APC.
A statement signed by El Rufai’s Spokesman, Samuel Aruwan said: “In April 2014, Hadiza co-founded the global movement #BringBackOurGirls which has been demanding for the rescue of the young girls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok Secondary School in Borno State, North East Nigeria.
“In August 2014 she gave touching speech on Chibok Girls at the United Nations Headquarters in New York during United Nations Department of Public Information, UN DPI conference as a guest speaker.
“She is well-known figure in APC where she served in a number of committees and capacities, key amongst which are: the Administrative Secretary of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organization; Secretary, APC Elections Planning Committee; Member APC Strategy Committee. She was also Director of Finance in the Nasir El-Rufai Campaign Organization, and later the Kaduna State APC Campaign Council”.
With the victory of APC at the polls it appears the purpose for which the #BringBackOurGirls was initiated has been achieved as little or nothing has been heard from them despite the fact that the Chibok girls have not been brought back or rescued.
However, Oby Ezekwesisli, still maintained her daily tweets she reels out on twitter through her handle, @obyezeks. In one of her tweets she said the federal government should not allow another 24 hours to pass without any tangible result on the rescue of the girls.
The group only remembered the girls last month in a statement they issued on Universal Children’s Day, a day set aside to promote the welfare of children worldwide. In the lengthy statement signed by Aisha Yesufu, Oby Ezekwesili and Hadiza Bala Usman, the Chibok girls were mentioned in only one paragraph.
In spite of President Buhari’s promise during the electioneering campaign that he will rescue the Chibok girls from captivity, the Nigerian leader dampened hope of rescuing the girls on April 14 during the first year anniversary of the abduction of the girls.
In a speech to mark the day President Buhari said; “We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them. But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my Government will do everything in its power to bring them home.”
However, on September 29 during the United Nations General Assembly, the Nigerian leader promised the global assembly that he will rescue the Chibok girls.
“One of our major aims is to rescue the Chibok girls alive and unharmed,” he said to applause during his first address to the General Assembly since taking office at the end of May this year.
Following the fizzling out of the #BringBackOurGirls, other Nigerians have picked out the gaulet to pressure the Nigerian government to make good its promise to rescue the girls.
During the convocation ceremony of the Kwara State University, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka lamented the continued captivity of the missing Chibok girls.
In a speech titled “Faith, Science and Imagination in the Temple of Knowledge” Prof Soyinka said, “It is disheartening that the abducted girls have not been rescued about 60 weeks after their kidnap. The kidnapped pupils were potential doctors when we sent them to take their first qualifying examination; up till today we cannot say whether they are alive, whether they are in slavery or had been sold off.”
On October 13 the House of Representatives at reminded President Buhari of his promise to ensure that the abducted Chibok girls are rescued from the captivity of Boko Haram.
This followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Asabe Vilita (Borno APC), who disclosed that 17 parents of the abducted girls have died since their abduction.

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