A report called Beyond Chibok, compiled by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has just been released, containing facts about the effects of the Chibok girls’ kidnap on the 14th of April, 2014, facilitated by Boko Haram. The bottom line of the report is that over 1.3 million children in northeastern Nigeria, have been uprooted by the violence propagated by Boko Haram and, even beyond that, many more are being used as perpetrators of suicide bombings in several northern states in the country.
Also, it states that Cameroon and Nigeria have the highest percentage of incidences involving child suicide bombers. Although the kids being used may not be the Chibok girls, it is still a disturbing trend.
Aissatou Musa, a self-confessed suicide bomber in Cameroon has identified as a Chibok girl. This is particularly sad because it is very likely that this trend will affect the number of parents in northern Nigeria willing to send their children to school. Aside from education, security in this area is not assured. It paints a pretty gloomy picture when children as young as 8 years old are strapped up in bombing gear and sent forth to unleash death and sorrow upon an unsuspecting society. Even more disheartening is the fact that the children, who have no choice but to do as they are instructed to, do not only kill others but are used as sacrificial lambs before their lives have even begun.
A few days ago, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), through its twitter account, released a video depicting what happens to a child’s brain during conflict, saying that their ability to be better adults becomes limited as a result of the conflict they face.
The world is already aware of the terrible conditions these Chibok girls are in, but what about those who have been rescued? What do they face when they get home? Another UNICEF report, Bad Blood, decries the fact that many of these girls face a lot of discrimination and distrust in their communities even after facing the terrible ordeal of dwelling with terrorists who carry out all kinds of sickening acts on them. What harm could they possibly exert on those who suspect them? “Such distrust is creating an atmosphere of terror and suspicion in many communities across the region. Children born as a result of sexual violence risk being rejected and even killed for fear that they could turn against their families and communities when they grow up,” says the report.
Aside from UNICEF, we all have a role to play in ensuring the security of our children and welcoming the emotionally and psychologically challenged victims of Boko Haram’s terror activities when they do come back home. We need to join UNICEF’sn #BringBackOurChildhood campaign.