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Amnesty International Highlights Coerced Marriages and Continuing Abductions in Nigeria

Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian government of coercing rescued Chibok girls into marrying insurgents as a gesture to appease Boko Haram militants.

Amnesty International has urgently called on the Nigerian government to intensify efforts to secure the release of the remaining 82 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in 2014. The call comes on the 10-year anniversary of the abduction of 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, marking a decade of increased child abductions and attacks on educational institutions in Northern Nigeria.

Since the infamous Chibok abduction, at least 17 mass kidnappings of schoolchildren have occurred, with over 1,700 children reported abducted. Many of these children face horrendous abuse, including forced marriages and sexual violence. Isa Sanusi, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, criticized the Nigerian government for its insufficient actions to prevent these attacks and protect vulnerable communities.

Amnesty International’s investigation highlights the inadequate implementation of the Safe Schools Initiative, which has been hindered by bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption allegations. Consequently, numerous schools in Northern Nigeria remain shut, severely disrupting education for thousands of children.

Particularly alarming are reports that 20 Chibok girls, rescued in recent years, were coerced into marriage with former Boko Haram insurgents, ostensibly to appease the group. These marriages, facilitated by the Borno State government, raise severe concerns about the respect for the rights and welfare of the victims.

Parents and families of the victims continue to express frustration over the lack of communication and support from the government in securing the release of their loved ones. As the community commemorates this grim anniversary, the demand for justice and more robust protective measures for schools and children grows louder.

Amnesty International plans to release a detailed report next month documenting the crimes committed by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military against girls perceived to be associated with the militant group since the conflict in Northeast Nigeria escalated in 2013. This report will also address the unique reintegration needs of these girls and their aspirations to rebuild their lives after enduring such profound traumas.

As the plight of the Chibok girls continues to symbolize the broader crisis of safety in Nigerian schools, the international community and Nigerian authorities are urged to renew their commitment to ending the cycle of violence and ensuring that all children can pursue their education without fear.

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