By Rafiu Ajakaye
Nigeria’s #BringBackOurGirls movement on Saturday commemorated the third anniversary of the Boko Haram massacre of dozens of schoolboys at a government college in northeastern Buni Yadi town of Yobe.
Activists and representatives of the parents of the boys - estimated at around 59 or 29 - gathered in the capital city Abuja to hold a memorial for the students who were mowed down by Boko Haram militants at their school on February 25, 2014. The school authorities insist 29 had been killed, although some local accounts claim they were 59.
“The only ‘crime’ of our Buni Yadi schoolboys was that they were bold and ambitious enough to seek a better and more assured future through education,” the #BringBackOurGirls movement said in a statement released at the memorial.
#BringBackOurGirls movement is primarily concerned with pushing Nigerian authorities to do more to find some 276 girls abducted on the night of April 14, 2014 by militants. But the group also speaks on issues affecting all victims of Boko Haram insurgency.
“The pain of their gruesome death still pierces through the walls of our hearts. Words alone cannot capture the harrowing experience their parents and other relations have been subjected to. Our children, both boys and girls, must never be made to choose between staying alive and getting an education,” it added.
The movement called on the Nigerian authorities to comfort the parents of the boys by setting up trauma centers, look into their needs, as well as ensure that security is beefed up across schools to forestall such incident in the future.
It added: “Our society must see and accept that one of the surest ways out of the primitivism, poverty and the attendant hopelessness that aided the emergence of the misguided insurgents in the Northeast is the rejuvenation and revival of the comatose educational systems in the country.”