From A Nigerian Sister, An Open Letter To The Kidnapped Chibok Girls, A Year Later

By Mary Umeoguaju
Junior Reporter
Youth Journalism
Anambra, Nigeria
April 14, 2015
dear sisters,
How are you? Hope
you are fine and in good health.
These questions seem
to be insignificant to ask of my sisters who have been missing in Chibok since
14th of April 2014, but I still think we need to ask them.
It’s been a year and
I haven’t heard from you and neither have my fellow Nigerians.
It is unfortunate. I’ve
never had any personal contact with any of you, but I feel so concerned and
worried because you are part of humanity, because you are Nigerians, because
you are my sisters.
It’s troubling to
see girls who want to acquire excellent education kidnapped in their school.
Today marks one year
since you were abducted from your school by the Islamist terrorist group Boko
Haram. It’s maddening to know that these terrorists believe that girls should be
at home and not in schools.
Now, when we read
newspapers or magazines, or watch and listen to our television channels and radios,
we think of nothing but abandoned homes, disintegrated families, bloodletting
and the displacement of residents who once had comfortable homes.
We’re all affected
by your abduction, and we think of you as days tumble into months.
Beyond the shores of
Nigeria, you’re remembered by powerful countries and people. You still, and
will always, remain important to all of us. To your parents, you’re beloved
daughters. To your siblings, you’re wonderful sisters. To friends, you remain
excellent companions.
To your teachers,
you are students and to elders, young children. To society, you are youth and
to our nation, students with a bright future.
But to me, you are
my sisters, my friends, my loved ones.
Your abduction still
hits us like an earthquake, and without communication, hope that all is well
has been shattered.
Rumors that you’ve
been used as objects for sexual gratification and taken as “wives” shudder us
into numbness. I try to imagine your pains, fears and hopes, but not without my
heart tearing apart.
We’ll continue to
pray for you and our military. We will never give up. We’ll remain entombed in
shock and outrage until you return to us.
Our government has
been criticized and a widespread dissatisfaction continues to boil, all because
you are yet to be found.
In his memoir The Audacity of Hope, U.S. President
Barack Obama talks about empathy as something that is “not simply … a
call to sympathy or charity, but as something more demanding; a call to stand in
somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.”
When I did that, I
was in tears. I couldn’t withstand all the horrifying scenes trickling into my
mind’s eye.
No, I can’t survive
such thoughts.
In your absence, a
presidential election was conducted and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan
accepted defeat. Our incoming leader, General  Muhammadu Buhari, a retired
army general who ruled Nigeria from 1984-1985, has promised to crush those
heartless insurgents.
We really miss you. We
praise your bravery and courage – those who fought and are still moving, those
who escaped and all who tried to do so and ended up dead or caught.
As we mark your
anniversary, I can only pray and hope that you’ll return to us alive.
Warm regards,


Links to more news and opinion pieces from Youth Journalism
International students about the kidnapped girls:
News: Nigerians Mark A Year Since Boko Haram Terrorists Kidnapped
Chibok Schoolgirls, 
April 14, 2015
Analysis: Schoolgirls Still Missing A Year Later, April 14, 2015:
Perspective: We Must Cry,
Until The Missing Girls Return, 
14, 2015
Perspective: One Year After
Their Kidnapping, The Missing Chibok Girls Are Not Forgotten, 
April 14,
News: Missing Nigerian Girls Not Forgotten; Students Renew Calls
For Their Rescue, 
October 14, 2014
Perspective: Missing Nigerian
Girls ‘Should Not Be Traded Off Like Cheap Materials In The Market’ 
April 30,









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