A movie in Nigeria remembers the Chibok ladies kidnapped 10 years in the past, and unites heartbroken households


Not a day goes by with out Lawan Zanna remembering his daughter Aisha in prayers. She was among the many 276 schoolgirls kidnapped 10 years in the past when Islamic extremists broke into their faculty in northeastern Nigeria’s Chibok village.

“It makes me so indignant to speak about it,” mentioned Zanna, 55, whose daughter is among the many practically 100 ladies nonetheless lacking after the 2014 kidnappings that shocked the world and sparked the worldwide #BringBackOurGirls social media marketing campaign.

The Chibok kidnapping was the primary main faculty abduction within the West African nation. Since then, a minimum of 1,400 college students have been kidnapped, particularly within the conflict-battered northwest and central areas. Most victims had been freed solely after ransoms had been paid or via government-backed offers, however the suspects hardly ever get arrested.

This 12 months, to mark the tenth anniversary of a largely forgotten tragedy, members of Borno state’s Chibok group gathered Thursday in Nigeria’s financial hub of Lagos to attend the screening of “Statues Additionally Breathe,” a collaborative movie challenge produced by French artist Prune Nourry and Nigeria’s Obafemi Awolowo College.

“This collaboration goals to boost consciousness in regards to the plight of the ladies who’re nonetheless lacking whereas highlighting the worldwide battle for ladies’ schooling,” Nourry mentioned.

The 17-minute movie opens with an aerial view of 108 sculptures — the variety of ladies nonetheless lacking when the artwork challenge started — that attempt to recreate what the ladies seem like at the moment utilizing photos offered by their households, from their facial expressions to hairstyles and visual patterns.

The movie captures the creative course of behind the artwork exhibit, first displayed in November 2022, that includes human head-sized sculptures impressed by historic Nigerian Ife terracotta heads.

Within the movie, one of many freed girls talks in regards to the horrors she went via whereas in captivity. “We suffered, we had been crushed up. (However) Allah (God) made me stronger,” she mentioned.

It additionally conveys a flurry of feelings as heartbroken moms reminisced about life when their daughters had been dwelling.

“When it’s time for Ramadan (…) Aisha adorns my hair with henna and all types of adornments,” one of many girls within the movie mentioned of her lacking baby.

However Aisha has not been dwelling in 10 years.

One other scene reveals a girl hesitating when requested to go and see her daughter’s face that was sculpted. “If I’m going and see it, it’ll deliver unhappy recollections,” she mentioned, her weak voice fading away.

Nigerian authorities haven’t performed sufficient to free the remaining girls and those that have regained their freedom haven’t been correctly taken care of, in line with Chioma Agwuegbo, an activist who was a part of the #BringBackOurGirls marketing campaign.

“Now we have normalized the absurd in Nigeria,” Agwuegbo mentioned of the college kidnappings in Nigeria. “10 years on, it’s an indictment not simply on the federal government however on our safety forces and even on the residents themselves.”

Analysts fear that the safety lapses that resulted within the Chibok kidnapping stay in place in many faculties. A latest survey by the United Nations kids’s company’s Nigeria workplace discovered that solely 43% of minimal security requirements are met in over 6,000 surveyed colleges.

In keeping with Nnamdi Obasi, senior adviser for Nigeria on the Worldwide Disaster Group, “the fundamental safety and security preparations in colleges are weak and generally non-existent,” including that army and police personnel are nonetheless “very a lot insufficient and overstretched.”

Authorities hardly ever present updates on efforts to free the Chibok girls. Nonetheless, a number of the freed girls have mentioned up to now that these nonetheless lacking have been forcefully married to the extremists, as is commonly the case with feminine kidnap victims.

A couple of dozen of the Chibok girls managed to flee captivity since early 2022. All of them returned with kids.

“I believe we shouldn’t even take into consideration them anymore,” mentioned one of many Chibok moms within the movie. “I really feel like they’re already gone.”

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Observe AP’s Africa protection at: https://apnews.com/hub/africa

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