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BY Abena Agyeman-Fisher, 11:42am April 21, 2015,

Chibok School Closure To Affect a Generation of Girls

Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the girls of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) in Chibok, Nigeria, being abducted by Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. And while all eyes are on the missing students and whether they will ever be returned home, for the remaining girl students of Chibok, school is yet to resume, meaning that a generation of students are falling behind in the wake of terrorism, according to the Guardian.

RELATED: Nigerians Remember Missing Chibok Girls in One-Year Anniversary Ceremony

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In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls as they took exams at their school. Before they left the secondary school (pictured), though, militants made sure to loot it and set it on fire.

Since then, GGSS has remained in ruins, leaving the girls in the area and surrounding towns bereft of knowledge and instruction.

Those who have the means, have reportedly sent their girls to major cities Lagos, Abuja, and Maiduguri, but for the majority, this is not an option.

Consequently, Chibok teacher Hawa Usman explained that the school closing affect an entire generation, “For over one year, our children haven’t been to school. For Chibok to not have a school is devastating. It will affect children for years to come.”

Former student Ruhab is an example of what life is like as a girl in the area, saying, “I believe education is very important, but one year is also a really long time,” she says. “I’ve forgotten so much. My English is not as good as it used to be and if someone asked me to write a paper, or even pick up a pen, I would have tell them there’s no way, I don’t know how to any more.”

Since the kidnapping, Ruhab reportedly spends her days cooking for her older brother, taking care of her siblings, and cleaning.

Christina is another former student whose life has been upended by the recent events.

While her parents can afford to send her younger sister to school in Maiduguri, they cannot afford to send her.

Speaking on the dearth of opportunities for girls, 15-year-old Christina says, “Boys can leave home and go find work in Lagos or Abuja, but we girls, we have no choice but to stay behind. Our parents would never let us go and live in someone’s house and work for them. There’s no way.”

Consequently, with little-to-no opportunities available, Christina has witnessed some of her peers already marrying and moving in with new husbands, “Some are even pregnant, and they’re my age.”

Mothers of missing girls of Chibok

Mothers of missing girls on one-year anniversary

While there has been talk to re-open the school — a British NGO reportedly says they are willing to restore the school — bureaucracy is getting in the way. Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, who belongs to the opposition party, has allegedly refused government help.

But beyond that obstacle is the very real threat of another attack occurring if the school is restored.

Boko Haram has made the targeting of both teachers and students a chief priority.

The Guardian reports:

In northeast Nigeria, students and teachers have been deliberately targeted. More than 300 schools have been damaged or destroyed and at least 196 teachers and 314 schoolchildren killed. Two-thirds of schools in Borno remain closed following Boko Haram attacks.

Which is why parent Yana Galang, whose daughter was one of the girls abducted, refuses to ever send her children back to GGSS.

“We have suffered enough. I [wouldn’t] let my daughter go back to that place.”

RELATED: Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai Pens Heartfelt Letter to Nigeria’s Missing Girls on Anniversary

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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