What is Boko Haram? Photograph:( Reuters )
The students arrived hoarded on buses, and were bare feet and dressed in dusty clothes with flecks of dried mud on their bodies
On Friday, December 11, more than 300 schoolboys were kidnapped in a raid carried out by Boko Haram insurgents. These kidnappings sparked a nationwide campaign. Today, finally, the 344 of the kidnapped students of Nigeria have finally been released by the abductors.
However, as Nigerians celebrate their release there are some concerns that must be addressed such as on what terms has the Muhammadu Buhari administration secured their release?
They say not a single bullet was fired. If so, has the government been forced to pay ransom money to the kidnappers? Another question that pops up is that has the Boko Haram been able to brainwash these students to wage their war against western education?
The students arrived hoarded on buses, and were bare feet and dressed in dusty clothes with flecks of dried mud on their bodies. They sat in silence as Nigerian government officials, clad in white silk robes, sang praises of the rescue operation.
"So I have a responsibility for all the missing children. So for me, when the news was brought to me, I thank god, because it happened I haven't slept. You can see my eyes, they are red all throughout," said Aminu Bello Masari, Katsina Governor.
These kidnappings sparked a nationwide campaign. Parents of the abductees and Nigerian activists built pressure on the government of Muhammadu Buhari to bring back the boys. Now, exactly a week on, the boys have been released but there's absolute secrecy on the terms of their release.
"Well, we are doing our best. Remember when we closed the border, we found out that still somehow, the terrorists or abductors, still get weapons and ammunition, they still take people hostage they are collecting millions of naira (local currency). We have a lot of work ahead of us," said Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian President.
The boys will now have to undergo a physical and mental examination before being reunited with their families — a very necessary procedure.
In the past, there have been reports of kidnapped children being brainwashed to secretly wage the Boko Haram's war. There were kids, who after their release, were convinced that western education is sinful.
Now, the onus of securing their future is on the Muhammadu Buhari government. It has failed to quell the insurgency since coming to power. Interestingly, Katsina, where the kidnappings took place, is Buhari's home state.
Boko Haram may have released the boys for now but its fight against the westernisation of Nigerian society is far from over. There's no guarantee that it won't carry out similar kidnappings of young students in the future.
What the federal government is doing is not enough. And Mr president has failed us, Mr president shows no sympathy over this matter, Mr president shows no concern over this matter, Mr president doesn't even show humanitarian feeling, he doesn't even have human feeling, the concept of human feeling, the god-fearing, the attitude of showing care and concern over these children," said Jamilu Aliyu Turanci, northwest coordinator of the coalition of northern groups.