As April comes to an end, it brings in it nostalgia feelings of despair, pain, and longing to the families, and acquaintances of the abducted 276 Chibok girls, of whom 96 remain in captivity.
Recall that between 14 to 15 April, 276 girls aged 16 to 18 were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.
Nine years after the abduction, with 180 of them out of the hostage camp, a non-governmental organisation, Murtala Muhammed Foundation, released a book titled:” The Stolen Daughters of Chibok,” a collection edited by development specialist, NGO expert, and human rights activist Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, and photographed by one of Nigerian renowned photojournalists, Akintunde Akinleye.
The book also commissioned by the Murtala Muhammed Foundation, is a collective effort featuring a team of experts, including journalists and psychologists, who have come together to create a comprehensive account and thorough examination of this tragedy.
The remarkable volume of narratives contains an unprecedented number of personal accounts that draw attention to an ongoing crisis where women and girls are neglected, violated, and excluded on the grounds of their gender and social status.
According to Muhammed-Oyebode, the founder, and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Murtala Muhammed Foundation, rather than a tale of plight, the collection seeks to evoke empathy and inspire action as 96 girls remain in captivity – nine years after the abduction.
She added that The Stolen Daughters of Chibok assembles the testimonies of loss and hope from the young girls’ families, beginning in 2015 when none of the girls were yet to be found. It also chronicles the devastating impact of their abduction alongside the trauma their families continue to face.
The work features interviews with the Chibok families documented by the book’s creators, with features essays and reflections on violence, gender, and more from writers, novelists, academics, public figures, including Professor Wole Soyinka, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, South Africa’s first lady, Graça Machel-Mandela, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II and more. The result is a heart-rending portrayal of the cost of this tragedy, which has touched the lives of communities in Nigeria and across the globe.
Speaking on the collection, Muhammed-Oyebode, said: “More questions than answers have emerged from our collective attempts to reckon with the facts and severity of the Chibok disaster. As we approach the 9th anniversary of the Chibok kidnapping, what remains clear is that there is still no route that brings women and girls from conflict to safety. Women and girls in Nigeria and globally deserve security, education, and a better future – I will make it my mission to work with partners to establish this as an urgent priority.
” She added that The Stolen Daughters of Chibok is also a tribute to the resilience and courage of the Chibok families, who have refused to relinquish hope despite adversity. This book should be read by anyone who cares about the fate of these brave girls and their families and anyone who believes in the transformative power of literature.” noted the CEO, Murtala Muhammed Foundation.
Also proceeds from the sale of the book according to Dr. Muhammed-Oyebode will be committed to the development of Chibok and other Boko Haram-devastated communities with an emphasis on education and the restoration of livelihoods.