Five years ago, on April 14, 2014, Boko Haram terrorists entered the Nigerian town of Chibok and kidnapped 276 schoolgirls. Already stand-outs due to their pursuit of education, these girls were exemplary in their ambition and work ethic, dreaming of a brighter future for themselves and their families. Five years later, over 100 of the young women are still missing. Those who have returned are haunted by the nightmare they lived through and, too often, face discrimination and ostracism. Their story is not only one of personal resilience, but also of the failure of national and international institutions and the media to respond in an appropriate and timely way.
On July 31, journalist Isha Sesay joined the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative for a discussion on her recent book, “Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram,” which shares the personal stories of some of the Chibok girls, emphasizes the global necessity of girls’ education, scrutinizes the role of the media during such tragedies, investigates the governance challenges that persist in Nigeria, and imparts broader lessons for national security.