The Nigerian elections have come and gone, and everything old is new again. Some of the new from the old is even more confusing and traumatic as time goes by. Some days ago, Nigeria’s military rescued a combined total of more than 500 women and girls. Of those rescued, about 219 girls are pregnant. I am confused; how could this happen?

The trauma relates to a number of concerns: How did the girls arrive in the Sambisia Forest? How did they live while captured, and how were they treated by those who captured them? Why the Sambisa Forest and how did these women and girls survive? My heart bleeds for them all.

The past year proved to be a terrible time for Nigerian women and girls because of the evil acts of Boko Haram. Not only were women, girls and children taken against their will, but also many were then raped and killed. Now I am faced with the news that a year after the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, there are more than 200 girls who are pregnant. This is a complete nightmare. I am certain that if the Chibok girls are found, many will already have their own children as well. What a shame!

Winning an election is great, but a positive election result alone is not sufficient for progress and advancing a nation. It is not sufficient unless the winning candidate delivers on the promises made during the campaign. One of the promises made by our president-elect was that he would make an effort to locate and free the Chibok girls. The election does not end our quest to locate the Chibok girls. We must recognize that our collective struggle must continue as one people and one nation.

It is true that change takes time, but we must also be willing to ask our leaders hard questions while we stand up for our brothers and sisters whose rights have been violated. Change also means recognizing the sacrifices made by those who came before us (our founding fathers) and making sure that, as a people, we continue to build on the legacy that they left behind. We do this through our willingness to always tell the truth as we see it. What we owe Chibok girls is to liberate them and demand that justice be served. We must disengage from the glorification of our elected officials and demand that they do the work they are elected to do. The election is over, yet on social media, some Nigerians are more concerned about tribal and religious divisions about than what can be done collectively to rescue the girls.

Today, I reflect on the efforts of the founding fathers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I ponder on their efforts—how they worked together and the strategies they used in securing Nigeria’ s independence. Fellow Nigerians, they worked together as brothers and sisters. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we must not see each other as enemies because of our different viewpoints, or ethnic origins.

The world must demand justice for all women and girls held captive against their will. We must stand with them by continuing to speak up on their behalf, to let them know that what happened to them is not normal, that atrocities were committed against them and that they deserve justice.

The Sambisa Forest is a forest of shame. Moving fully forward means finding answers to the Chibok situation. Moving fully forward means adequate security to protect all women and girls in Nigeria. Until then, Chibok is our national shame.

Nkechi Ogbodo is president and founder of Kechie’s Project (www.kechiesproject.org).