14.04.2024 Featured ‘Why Did I Leave Sambisa?’ — Chibok Girls Lament Degrading Treatment by Gov’t Officials

Published 14th Apr, 2024

By Tola Owoyele

Ten years after Boko Haram, an Islamist jihadist organisation in north-eastern Nigeria, kidnapped over 276 female students from Chibok in Borno State, some of the abductees who managed to escape captivity during the period have expressed disappointment in their treatment by the government officials responsible for their welfare.

The escapees, in a story published by the BBC on Sunday, complained of being let down by the government.


“I do regret coming back,” Lisu (not real name), a Chibok girl who gave birth to two children while being held hostage in Sambisa forest, was quoted as saying.

“Sometimes I cry when I remember. I ask myself: ‘Why did I even leave Sambisa to come back to Nigeria, only to come and face such degrading treatment, being insulted almost daily?’ I never experienced such heartache while I was in Sambisa.

READ ALSO: FLASHBACK: How Shettima’s Complacence Led to Abduction of 276 Chibok Schoolgirls

“They yell at us all the time; I am deeply unhappy.

“I had more freedom at the Boko Haram camp than I do here.”

Lisu said that basic provisions like food and soap were never enough, and that her movements were always closely watched and restricted by security guards.

She added that she had also been subjected to verbal abuse from staff at the group home on some occasions.

After her escape from the forest, Lisu went through a government rehabilitation programme before being placed in a Borno State-arranged group accommodation for escapees.


Amina Ali, the first of the Chibok captives to escape from Sambisa forest in 2016, also expressed dissatisfaction with the way she was being treated by the government.

Ali spent two years in the forest and was forced to “marry” a militant and “convert to Islam” as a captive.

“I just thought even if I spent 10 years (as a hostage), one day, I would escape,” she was quoted as saying.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Kidnaps 17 Young Girls in Borno Village

Ali said she trekked through the forest with her then two-month-old baby strapped to her back for two weeks before eventually reuniting with her loved ones.

Amina’s escape was accompanied by huge fanfare and relief during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

During her meeting with the then president, she was promised her life would change for the better.

“[The president said] he was going to take care of us and send us to school and even our children too,” Ali told BBC.

“Because it’s not our fault to find ourselves in that situation and the children, too, they don’t know anything. They’re innocent. So he was going to take care of them.”

Ali said most of the promises made were never kept.

She now lives in Yola, Adamawa State, where she shares a small room with her daughter. They share an outdoor bathroom with a neighbour and also cook with the help of firewood outside.

She receives a monthly stipend of N20,000 from the government to cover everyday expenses. Despite the government’s promises, however, she receives nothing in terms of support for her daughter’s education. She pays her daughter’s school fees on her own with the little money she makes from farming.

READ ALSO: In Niger Communities, Boko Haram Bans Transportation of Farm Produce With Trucks, Says It’s Greed

“It’s hard for me to look after my daughter,” Ali said.

“What can I do? I have to do it because I don’t have anyone.”


Rakiya Gali, another Chibok girl, escaped from Boko Haram’s captivity in 2017.

Gali has also never received any financial support from the government. Like Ali, she pays for her son’s education with the money she makes from farming, despite promises from the government.

“The government has been unfair to us,” Gali was quoted as saying.

“They knew that we went into [Sambisa forest] and came back with children. If they cannot help us, then who will help us?”

Rakiya said she still lives in fear, adding that her town is still being attacked by insurgents.

She said the militants recently burned down her son’s school.

“Whenever I hear any sound, I think it is a gunshot,” she said.

Gali said she strongly believed the Chibok girls who were still being held hostage by Boko Haram would prefer to remain with the militants if they saw how she and those who escaped were living outside the camp.

READ ALSO: Captured by Vigilantes, ‘Freed by the Authorities’, Notorious Bandit Walks Free in Niger

“When [the girls] return, [they] will come join us in this situation,” Gali said.

“I would say it is better to stay [in Sambisa forest] with the child and the father will provide support, rather than going through this trouble.”

Since the schoolgirls’ abduction on April 14, 2014, more than 180 have either escaped or been freed.

More than 90 schoolgirls are, however, still missing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Published 14th Apr, 2024

By Tola Owoyele


Our Stories

Abiodun Bakare of Dante Store Took Payments but Refused to Deliver Customers’ Phones

Canadian Nurses Association Elects Nigerian Prof. Bukola Salami as VP

Protest Coordinator Arrested by Police in Lagos Regains Freedom After 2 Days


Chronicles of Kidnap Survivors (II): Kaduna Teenager Learned to Shoot at 14 Because ‘Kidnappings Happen Everyday’

Police officer

How Police Officers Stole Ogun Student’s Laptop


GTBank Can’t Account for N1.3m Missing From Customer’s Account

Yakubu Dogara

Dogara: Nigerians Might Ditch the Naira for the Dollar if FX Crisis Persists


N2.5m Kept in GTB Customer’s Account Used to Make Online Purchases Without Consent

#FreeJuwon Protesters

#FreeJuwon: CSOs Demand Release of Lagos Protest Coordinator Arrested by the Police

VIDEO: Tinubu Falls in June 12 Parade Vehicle