It was heartwarming to hear the news of the release of twenty-one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014. It is one of the best news to come out of Nigeria in recent times. For the parents it’s like their children coming back from the dead!
There has hardly been any tragedy trivialized and politicized like the Chibok abduction in recent times. There were denials, accusations and counter-accusations. But when all hope seemed lost about their safe return, out came the news of the release of some of them.
While we welcome the news of the release of the girls and hope for the safe return of the rest of them, we mustn’t forget that this is only a part of a long journey to recovery and healing for the girls.
These girls have been through some harrowing experiences that can break even the most resilient of men. They have spent over two torturous years with crude, violent and murderous criminals. They have experienced killings, rapes, hunger and other forms of crimes too testing for people of their age to deal with.
What impact does this leave on their emotions? How do they get back to living their normal lives again? These are the challenges that lie ahead. That many people see the news of their release as a scam or distraction underlines the fact that not everyone is impressed with or welcomes the news.
They will need all the help they can get to overcome the trauma of the past two years and live their normal lives again. Government and the people must work together to provide all they will need to find healing and get their lives on track again. We failed them once, we can’t afford to fail them again!