July 13, 2018

Chibok girls kidnapper gets 20 years for school attack that shocked the world

The #BringBackOurGirls movement campaigned for the Chibok students to be returned safely

Four years after the mass abductions, a second man has been jailed for his part in Boko Haram's reign of terror against education and civil rights.

More than four years after the Chibok school abductions, a second man has been jailed for his part in the infamous attack.

Banzana Yusuf was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the "planning and kidnapping" of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls, which led to the global #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2014 attack by Boko Haram gunmen on the secondary school in Borno state, 57 girls escaped. Another 107 have since been found or released.

The only other conviction was in February, when Haruna Yahaya, 35, admitted involvement in the Chibok abductions and was given two 15-year jail sentences.

Boko Haram's reign of terror against education and civil rights has destroyed schools across northeast Nigeria, which had poor levels of education even before the conflict began in 2009 - particularly among girls.

Some of the Chibok girls who were released after talks with Boko Haram

The group has abducted more than 1000 children since 2013, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said in April.

"Children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack at a shocking scale," said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF's Nigeria head.

Figures last year revealed that more than 2295 teachers had been killed and 19,000 displaced while nearly 14000 schools had been destroyed. 

In February, 110 girls were kidnapped from a school at Dapchi in Yobe state. Soon after, most were returned unharmed - and only one girl is still missing.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised last week that she and the remaining Chibok students have not been forgotten

Esther Joseph, mother of a missing Chibok girl, says she prays for her to return

Photo credit: Facebook / Open Doors UK and Ireland

He said: “I want to reassure the world, Nigerians and the families of the remaining kidnapped Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu of the Dapchi School girls, that this administration will not relent in our efforts to see that they are all released.”

The sentence for Yusuf was revealed by the Nigerian government yesterday. He is from Yobe state - but no other details were given about his age, identity, the exact charges, the circumstances of his arrest or what was said in court.

Yusuf and Yahaya were among 1669 Boko Haram suspects brought before four special civilian courts at a military barracks in Kainji, in Niger state. 

Trials began in October but media have to rely on government statements to find out what's happening.

The Safe Schools Initiative

In the aftermath of Chibok, a Safe Schools Initiative was launched in Nigeria in May 2014. It started with an investment from the Global Business Coalition for Education and was supported by the A World at School movement, raising funding from business leaders, government and government donors.

When Nigeria's new government took power in 2015, many of the Safe Schools Initiative's activities were not pursued as a policy priority. Campaigners are calling for the initiative to be revived and reinstated.

We are a global children's charity committed to ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation.

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