Education International
Education International

Nigeria: bittersweet news as 21 kidnapped Chibok girls are released

published 13 October 2016 updated 14 November 2016

Education International (EI) joins with the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education in welcoming the rescue of 21 kidnapped Chibok girls while urging the focus to return to the 200 still missing.

“The release of 21 kidnapped Chibok girls is a huge relief but still raises the question: Where are the other 200 girls and what has happened to them?” said United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown on 13 October.

Thanking the International Red Cross for its work in securing the release of the girls, Brown stressed that the rescued girls’ lives had changed forever.

The former UK Prime Minister also highlighted that Friday, 14 October, “marks exactly two-and-a-half years since the girls were abducted from their school dormitory”. Most of those kidnapped “were studying to go on to college or university and to be nurses, doctors, care workers, teachers, lecturers and engineers”.

The 273 Chibok girls were kidnapped by the extremist group, Boko Haram, at the Chibok government secondary school on 14 April 2014.

Brown urged “authorities and negotiators not to give up until every girl is safely back with their families”.

EI: Call for safe return of girls

Education International (EI) General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen echoed Brown’s comments. “We once again urge the Nigerian public authorities to work toward the release and safe return of each and every one of these girls,” he said. “Although this is wonderful news for the children and their families, Nigeria must redouble its efforts to bring them all home.”

With 10.5 million children remaining out of school in Nigeria, EI will continue to underline the importance of every child being afforded the opportunity of education in a peaceful and safe learning environment, he added.