This morning, by 4am in African time, 217students of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Jangebe in Zamfara State, abducted on Friday, February 26, 2021, were released from captivity. They were welcomed in Gusau, the State capital by the Governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle and his wife, Alhaja Aisha Bello Matawalle. Their abduction is the latest episode of a phenomenon that is fast becoming commonplace in Nigeria. Gov. Matawalle disclosed that some people paid the bandits not to release their preys. So it is now business, a lucrative on indeed. Here is a breakdown of the high paying job.
The breakdown of security in the North-west and North-central regions of the country has led to a surge in kidnapping and banditry and added to the over a decade-old insurgency in the North-east.
Kidnapping is one of the most pervasive and intractable violent crimes in the country, experienced in less dramatic forms in the southern part of the country.
Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnap-for-ransom cases globally. Over the years, this has continued in spite of the government vow to address the situation.
Different bands of outlaws are responsible for the menace in the North-west and North-central, unlike in the North-east where Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the two incidents in Chibok and Dapchi some years ago.
April 14, 2014: Boko Haram terrorists abducted hundreds of schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok, Borno State at a time the students were writing their final year exams. About 57 of the girls manage to escape at different times while on transit with their abductors.
April 16, 2014: The military said soldiers had rescued over 100 of the Chibok schoolgirls but quickly withdrew the claim after the school principal, Asabe Kwambura, and many of the parents of the abducted girls refuted it.
May 12, 2014: Boko Haram releases the first video of the abducted girls, a development which confirmed that the girls were actually in the custody of the Abubakar Shekau-led terror group. Mr Shekau in the video threatened to marry the girls off or use them as part of his war booty.
May 20, 2014: The Borno State government set up a N150 million special fund for the rehabilitation of the 57 Chibok girls who had escaped.
October 16, 2014: The former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, an air vice-marshal, said the federal government had reached a ceasefire deal with leaders of Boko Haram and that the 216 girls in their captivity would soon be released. But Boko Haram leaders quickly denied the claim.
November 2, 2014: Boko Haram leader, Mr Shekau, released a video in which he declares that all the 216 girls in his custody had been converted to Islam and married off. He also denied ever negotiating with the federal government concerning the girls.
March 24, 2015: A woman who escaped from Boko Haram captivity said some of the Chibok girls were being held somewhere near Gwoza and that two of the girls had been killed during a military air strike on one of the terrorists’ locations.
May 29, 2015: President Muhammadu Buhari, in his inaugural speech, promised to end the Boko Haram insurgency and rescue the Chibok schoolgirls “within six months”.
August 29, 2015: President Buhari meets 90 of the parents of the abducted Chibok girls during which he restated his promise to rescue the girls.
November 30, 2015: President Buhari during a media chat said there is no “credible information” on the whereabouts of the Chibok girls, dashing hopes in their release.
May 18, 2016: One of the abducted Chibok girls, Amina Ali Nkeki, was found with her baby and a man she identified as her husband.
October 13, 2016: Boko Haram releases 21 Chibok girls following negotiations.
January 5, 2017: Another Chibok girl, Rakiya Abubakar, is found with her baby, which brought to 23 the number of the abducted girls to have regained freedom.
May 2017: Another 82 girls are released in exchange for five Boko Haram commanders. Later that month, Boko Haram released a video in which a woman in a black veil claiming to be one of the Chibok girls brandishes a gun and proclaims loyalty to the group.
December 30, 2020: The Chibok community demands the release of the remaining schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity.
February 18, 2018: Nearly 110 schoolgirls are kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in Dapchi town of Yobe State.
February 20, 2018: The Nigerian government confirms that 110 schoolgirls are missing.
February 21, 2018: The Yobe State government announces the rescue of some of the girls and says they are with the army.
February 22, 2018: The Yobe government retracts the statement and apologises for misleading the public, saying “No girl was rescued.”
February 23, 2018: President Buhari calls the abduction of schoolgirls in Dapchi a ‘national disaster’.
February 25, 2018: The Nigerian Air force announces the deployment of aircraft and additional personnel for search and rescue missions.
March 9, 2018: Women hold a protest in Abuja three weeks after the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls.
March 12, 2018: President Muhammadu Buhari announces plan to negotiate the girl’s release, rather than use military force.
March 14, 2018: Mr Buhari makes first visit to Dapchi, assuring parents of the missing schoolgirls that the government will rescue the students.
March 20, 2018: Amnesty International claims Nigerian Army ignored repeated warnings of an attack on Dapchi town, hours before the abductions.
March 21, 2018: The Nigerian government announces that 104 of the 110 schoolgirls have been freed.
December 11, 2020: Suspected gunmen attack Government Boys Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State and abduct over 300 students.
December 12, 2020: the Katsina State government shuts all public schools.
December 12, 2020: Mr Buhari speaks on the abductions.
December 16, 2020: Parents and guardians of the abducted schoolboys in Kankara said they were disappointed with President Buhari and Governor Aminu Masari, who they said had failed to ensure security in the state.
December 17, 2020: The abducted Kankara students regain freedom.
December 18, 2020: The United States (U.S.) condemns the abduction of students, urging the Nigerian government to hold kidnappers accountable.
February 17, 2021: Suspected bandits abduct 27 students and 15 others at Government Science School, Kagara in Niger State.
February 17, 2021: The federal government promises to take ‘political and military’ steps to secure the release of college students.
February 17, 2021: The Nigerian Army said its troops were in ‘hot chase’ of the bandits behind the abductions in Kagara.
February 19, 2021: The governor of Niger State said negotiation for the release of the abducted persons is at the final stage.
February 24, 2021: Kidnappers demanded ransom from victims’ parents and warn that the students may starve to death if the ransom is not paid quickly.
February 25, 2021: The governor of Niger State said the Nigerian government is not ‘helping’ in the rescue of the abducted persons.
February 26, 2021: Bandits kidnap 317 female students of Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe, Zamfara State in an early morning raid in their school.
February 26, 2021: The Zamfara State government confirms the abduction.
February 26, 2021: The police confirm that 317 schoolgirls were abducted in Jangebe.