Nigerians will never forget April 14, 2014, a day when no fewer than 276 school girls were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state by the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
Their abduction sparked global outrage and people around the world including celebrities started the #Bringbackourgirls campaign.
Friday, April 14, marks the three years anniversary of their abduction.
For two years, the federal government kept making moves to find the girls and reunite them with their families but it all proved futile.
In May, 2016, there was breakthrough with the discovery of one of the girls who was found with a baby. Subsequently, two other girls were found and in October, 21 of the girls were released in a deal brokered by Switzerland and the International Red Cross. In November, another girl named Maryam Ali Maiyanga was found.
Three years down the line, roughly 197 of the girls are yet to be found.
NAIJ.com brings you facts about the Chibok schoolgirls and Boko Haram.
1. The Boko Haram insurgents who have been waging war against Nigeria to carve out an Islamic state struck in the middle of the night, kidnapping the girls from their boarding school. As many as 50 girls escaped almost immediately in 2014.
2. The government under the command of former president Goodluck Jonathan did not take action immediately and suffered heavy backlash for handling the situation poorly. There was so much reaction on social media and the #bringbackourgirls began to trend. the global campaign was even backed by former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.
3. In April 2015, hope for the girls release was raised when the Nigerian military announced it had rescued 200 girls and 93 women from the Sambisa forest. But, it was quickly dashed as it was revealed that the Chibok girls were not among them.
4. That same month, a video surfaced showing some Chibok girls who were recognized by their families.
5. In May 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in and he pledged to tackle Boko Haram insurgency.
6. Throughout 2015, the Nigerian military announced the rescue of hundreds of people, most of them women and children, who have been kidnapped by the Islamist sect but the missing schoolgirls were not among them.
7. One year after, one of the girls identified as Amina Ali Nkeki was found along with her baby and Mohammad Hayyatu, a suspected Boko Haram militant who claimed to be her husband. They were found by the Civilian JTF group in the Sambisa Forest. She said some of the girls had died in captivity.
8. In August 2016, the Islamist sect released another video of what appeared to be about 50 Chibok girls. Some of them were holding babies while an armed masked spokesman demanded the release of jailed fighters in exchange for the girls’ freedom. The insurgents also claimed that some of the school girls were killed in airstrikes.
9. In October 2016, Nigerian officials announced the release of 21 of the girls following talks between the government and Boko Haram brokered by Switzerland and the International Red Cross. Sources claimed some Boko Haram prisoners were released as part of the deal to secure the girls’ release. However, the presidency debunked the report.
10. Since the kidnap of the Chibok girls, no fewer than 2,000 girls and boys have been abducted by Boko Haram. According to Amnesty International report, they were been used as cooks, slaves, fighters and even bombers.
11. The Boko Haram insurgents split last year with one faction moving away from the group's established leader Abubakar Shekau over his failure to adhere to guidance from Islamic State to which Boko Haram pledged allegiance in 2015. The Islamic State named al-Barnawi as the new leader.
12. In December 2016, President Buhari declared that Boko Haram has been crushed and driven from its last forest hideout.
13. Report has it that Nigeria is in talks with the insurgents over the release of more of the abducted Chibok girls.
No fewer than 157 girls are still in Boko Haram captivity and the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group has refused to give up hope that the girl will be rescued. NAIJ.com crew spoke withe some Nigerians about the #bbog campaign: if it should be stopped or continued until the Chibok girls are found? Watch video below.