Normalcy is beginning to return to Chibok, the Borno town as the 21 released girls returned back home after over two years of being in Boko Haram captivity.
The Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima, visited the town to spend time with the rescued girls and supervise the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure in the community.
The rescued girls were brought to Chibok to spend the Christmas holiday for the first time since their abduction.
Their return brought excitement and hope to people of the community although only very close family members were allowed access to the girls, as heavily armed security operatives prevented passage to the home where they are being kept.
Speaking to Channels Television, grandmother to one of the rescued girls, Kyallu Ibrahim, expressed excitement over the return of her daughter.
“I never thought I’ll ever see my grandchild again, I thought she was dead. It was a nightmare when they took them away but we are glad she is finally back we are grateful to God and the government for bringing them back and we pray for the other girls that are yet to return.”
Families whose daughters are yet to return have mixed feelings even as those rescued are celebrating, they can only hope for their own wards would one day return.
Speaking on the insecurity in the region, a women group leader, Comfort Dunama, explained that every family in Chibok has either lost a child or relative in the April 2014 abduction of the girls.
This according to her, has made nearly 800 locals to become volunteer vigilantes which has paid off in securing the community according to local leaders.
Commander Chibok Vigilante Group, Apogu Gaji, said: “After the kidnap of the girls more people came to join us.
“In the past, we were not more than 50 but today we have up to 500 volunteers. We have engaged Boko Haram in battles, arrested some, killed some and we submit the arms we recover to the army.
“We also suffered casualties but we dealt with them thoroughly and as of now there is no Boko Haram camp around our villages neither do they use any route with their motorcycles. We don’t see them again and everyone feels safe these days,” Gaji stated.
Shettima, while promising to rebuild damaged infrastructure, stated that nothing is too much to do for the girls and their families, who have suffered a lot already.
Consoling parents whose daughters are yet to be rescued, he said all hands are on deck to ensure the return of all the girls.
He then went on to demand explanation over the 500 million Naira approved under the safe school initiative project, for the remodelling of the Chibok school.
“They have released 500 million Naira, I have not seen what they did in Government Secondary School Chibok. We shall go to the federal government, and the safe school initiative and the federal Ministry of Finance and demand what they did with the money.
“People should stop buying and selling with the name of Chibok, it is very unfortunate.
We shall also revoke the contract for the Damboa/ Chibok road and in the coming year, we are directing the Borno Road Maintenance Agency with the sum of 500 million naira to fix the road,” the governor stressed.