Right Now We Are Delighted – Aisha Yesufu

The Bring Back Our Girls campaign group has expressed gladness over the fact that the Federal Government was able to secure the release of 82 Chibok school girls out of the over 200 girls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government and all the other partners, the group also believes that the rehabilitation of the girls as well as reuniting them with their parents is another key step that should be taken immediately.

Undiluted Joy

“We are extremely delighted at this news, at the fact that 82 of our Chibok girls are back, and so right now the total is 106. We still have 113 out there waiting to be brought back home but right now, we are delighted, its a happy day and we are looking forward to the fact that 82 families would be able to have undiluted joy when they finally are reunited with their daughters.”

The co-convener of the BBOG, Mrs Aisha Yesufu, said this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television in Abuja.

Meanwhile, speaking on the overall well-being of the 21 girls who had been rescued earlier, Yesufu stated that although the government had denied them access to the girls, they have continued to push for their proper rehabilitation and most importantly, their return to school.

This according to her, would deny the insurgents the glory.

“Unfortunately, when they were brought back, the Federal Government didn’t give us access and we said that was okay, all we wanted was access between the girls and their parents. Let them be able to meet, let them be re-integrated and rehabilitated into the society and ensure that they go on to get that education.”

Read Also: 82 Released Chibok Girls Arrive Abuja

We Are Working Hard To Rescue Other Chibok Girls – Shettima

chibok-girlsHopes of the parents of the yet to be rescued Chibok girls have been raised, as the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, reassures them that the government is doing everything possible to ensure the return of their daughters.

Over 200 girls were abducted by members of Boko Haram Islamic sect on April 14, 2014.

Since their abduction, less than 70 of them have been rescued, with the last set, 21 of them, spending the Christmas season in their hometown, Chibok.

The girls on Monday spent time with Governor Shettima in Chibok town, where they were taken from their school’s dormitory over two years ago.

Their freedom is an outcome of negotiations with the insurgents brokered by International mediators.

The 21 girls have been in custody of the Federal Government in Abuja and their visit to Chibok saw huge presence of armed soldiers and officials of the Department of State Security who remained their strict guards throughout their stay.

Nothing Is Too Much

The girls appeared excited meeting Governor Shettima again after they had met him in Abuja days after their freedom from Boko Haram’s captivity.

chibok-girls-and-kashim-shettima
One of the girls handed over a picture to Governor Shettima

Governor Shettima told the girls that with their cheerful mood, the next concern had to be their future.

“As you know, 56 of your colleagues who escaped abduction are currently in two international schools where they have been since 2014.

“We are taking care of all their educational needs from school fees to other basics.

“Left to me, I would want the 21 of you to join them in those two schools so that you can all feel at home and move on.

“However, the Federal Government has a plan which we will jointly discuss and come up with a decision that is acceptable to you our daughters.

“President Muhammadu Buhari loves you so much and he is deeply concerned about our daughters that are yet to be freed. He is working on that and we are all working” Shettima said.

Consoling parents whose daughters are yet to be rescued, Governor Shettima said all hands are on deck to ensure the return of all the girls.

“Nothing is too much for these girls and their parents.

“They have suffered too much and deserve our support” the Governor said.

The happy girls presented a gift of a medium size photo frame with a bold ‘THANK YOU’ printed on it to the Governor. ‎

The frame has pictures the Governor took with the girls when he visited them in Abuja months back. The frame also has individual pictures of each of the 21 girls.

Glory Dama, one of the 21 girls, presented the photo frame on behalf of her colleagues. She said they deeply appreciate the show of love by Governor Shettima and his wife, Nana Shettima.

Chibok Girls Rescue: Government Should Redefine Strategy – Oyebode

bring back our girls, aisha mohammed, boko haram, military, abducted chibok girls,Head of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign in Lagos, Mrs Aisha Mohammed-Oyebode, has asked the Nigerian government to redefine its strategy in its efforts to rescue the abducted Chibok girls.

Mrs Aisha in an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday stressed that the new strategy should be put in place with adequate consideration of every lead.

“We need to redefine our strategy. I think it’s very important to have a clear tactic now, but more importantly I think communication is very important,” she stated.

Mrs Aisha further urged the military to always take note of important leads as they come.

“The reality is that the video and even the rescue of Amina  Nkeki, earlier in the year, are all leads and every time we get leads like that, it is very important that we follow them.

“We must put all our resources and power behind it to make sure that we find those girls,” she opined.

Although Mrs Aisha admitted that rescuing the girls was a difficult task, she advised that the military and the government should maximise every given opportunity.

“I know it’s a very difficult operation and I think we would want all the girls to come back to us alive.

“All of them, or as many as possible, but at the same time, every opportunity must be maximised such that as soon as it is possible and practicable, we can bring these girls back home,” the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group member said.

 

Chibok Girls: Parents Identify Daughter In New Boko Haram Video

Boko Haram new video on Chibok girlsThe parents of one of the abducted Chibok Schoolgirls have identified their daughter in a new video released by a faction of the Boko Haram sect.

Mrs Esther Yakubu and her husband, Kawo Yakubu told Channels Television on Sunday that their daughter, Dorcas Yakubu, was one of the girls in the new video.

They spoke to Channels Television at a meeting by members of the Bring Back Our Girls group at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.

At the meeting, members of the group said the present administration had failed Nigerians by not fulfilling its promise of rescuing the Chibok girls.

The girls were taken over two years ago from the school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State.

One of the organisers of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group consoled Mrs Yakubu, whose tears have continued to flow in despair.

Her daughter, Dorcas Yakubu, is one of the 218 Chibok Girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect in April 14, 2014.

Her mother woke up to a video released by members of the sect showing her daughter speaking on behalf of the abducted girls.

In the video, Dorcas was referred to as Maida Yakubu.

For more than two years, Mrs Yakubu has not held her daughter in her hands, she says the pain is unbearable.

She is also disappointed at the government’s response to the plight of the girls.

While she cried endlessly, her husband, Mr Yakubu, stood a few meters away, with grim expression.

He was, however, grateful that his daughter is alive.


Hours after the Boko Haram sect released a video showing the abducted Chibok Girls, the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group called a meeting at the Unity Fountain Abuja, a popular place to members of the group. They had held months of protests there.

In the video released by the Boko Haram sect, a masked man is demanding the release of the detained sect members in return for the abducted girls.

The group also claims that some of the girls had been killed in military airstrikes in Sambisa forest.

The Bring Back our Girls campaign group said there were only three choices available – government’s negotiation to rescue the girls, government use military operations to rescue the girls or a combination of both.

The Nigerian government had declared its readiness to negotiate with the group but said it would not negotiate with a group that do not have any known representative.

Senate Tasks Service Chiefs On Rescue Of Chibok Girls

chibok girlsThe Nigerian Senate has urged Service Chiefs to continue with the efforts being made to search for and rescue the 276 abducted Chibok girls.

This demand is coming few days after a two-year anniversary of the girls’ abduction was held.

It is the outcome of Wednesday’s closed-door meeting between the lawmakers and Service Chiefs, which also had the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the State Security Service in attendance.

After the meeting, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said efforts to rescue the Chibok girls in the past two years were discussed in the meeting.

The security chiefs also addressed questions that bothered on national security in the country.

The Senate had on April 15 requested that the Service Chiefs should appear before it to give an update on efforts being made to rescue the over 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 from Chibok in Borno State.

The girls were abducted for their schools dormitory on April 14, 2014 while they were taking their final year exams.

A video appearing to show proof of life of some of the kidnapped Chibok girls is being aired, along with images of tearful parents identifying their daughters, unheard of since the mass abduction by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

CNN showed the video, reported to be made in December of the girls wearing the hijab and of one mother reaching out to a computer screen as she identifies her daughter.

No Time Frame For Chibok Girls Return – Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo on Chibok girlsThe Nigerian government says it cannot give a time frame for the return of the over 219 school girls abducted from a government secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in 2014.

It, however, assured Nigerians that everything needed to be done to ensure the release of the girls was being done.

Vice President Yemi Osibajo gave the assurance on Wednesday while addressing a group of civil society organisations and the diplomats at a forum on vulnerable people and conflict situation in Nigeria.

Be Patient

Professor Osinbajo stressed that in the heart of the government’s war on terror was the safe return of the abducted girls, contrary to popular insinuations that it was half-hearted in its approach.

He urged Nigerians to guard their utterances, be patient and trust the security agencies which he said were working hard to ensure the liberation of all Nigeria’s territory and also free all hostages including the girls.

The Vice President also cautioned that it would be counter-productive to put a time frame to the return of the girls abducted from their schools dormitory on April 14, 2014.

He reiterated that the government was working to ensure their safe return in the shortest possible time.

Giving the government’s position on the plight of those who have become displaced and vulnerable, the Vice President urged civil rights advocates to also begin to hold states and local governments’ authorities more accountable because the Federal Government alone could not tackle socio-economic needs of the people.

The event was organised by the office of the National Security Adviser to mark the second year anniversary of the abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno State.

A victim of Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, Fatima Salihu, could not hold her emotions back, as she recalls her experience in the hands of the terrorists and what life has become for her and many others like her since then.

Some members of some civil society groups, who had visited Chibok and Biu in Borno State to aid the displaced persons as a result of the insurgency, also shared their experiences.

They want the government to match its words with action, by taking immediate steps to ameliorate the immediate needs of the victims and put in place a long term plan for the rehabilitation of the displaced persons and ensure the speedy return of the abducted school girls.

The participants at the event held on to their expectations and hopes that it would not be another talk shop.

Child Suicide Bombers

The girls’ abduction had triggered protests in different countries in 2014, with demonstrators demanding for more efforts from the government to rescue the girls.

Activists have also stressed the need for greater protection of children in the north-east region of Nigeria just as the Boko Haram had at one time or the other used children as suicide bombers.

On Monday, the United Nations Children’s Fund in a report said that one in every five “suicide bombers” used by Boko Haram in the past two years has been a child.

 

BBOG Campaigners Seek Chibok Girls’ Release, Rehabilitation By March 2016

chibok girlsAs Nigeria joins the world to celebrate Mother’s Day, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Campaigners (BBOGC) have asked the Federal Government to ensure that the abducted Chibok girls are rescued and rehabilitated before March 2016.

As they continue their daily sit-out in Abuja, the nation’s capital, convener of the group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, said that the government should not pay lip service over the fate of the Chibok girls, as the world has joined in calling for their safe return.

Dr. Ezekwesili noted that the mothers of the Chibok girls, having borne huge agony for almost a year, are asking questions on whether or not the government is close to winning the fight to free the girls from their abductors.

The Bring Back Our Girls Campaigners (BBOGC) had, on February 14, launched a formal six weeks count-down for the rescue of the abducted Chibok girls who have been in captivity since April 2014.

According to the group, the countdown would help them monitor the activities of the multinational forces towards the eradication of the insurgents and the rescue of the Chibok girls from their captors.

The group have since continued to express confidence in government’s ability to restore security in the north east and rescue the schoolgirls.

Chibok Girls: Rescue Campaigners Say Threat Will Not Dissuade Them

Chibok-girls-#BringBackOurGirlsNo amount of threat or pressure will dissuade us from carrying on with our advocacy for the return of the Chibok school girls abducted by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group, members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group said on Saturday.

During the daily sit-out at the Unity Fountain, some members of the group calling for more efforts in operations to rescue the over 200 girls abducted on April 14 from their school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, alleged a fresh threat to their daily sit-out.

It is the 95th day of the groups’ campaign and the members said they were hopeful that their advocacy would put relevant government agencies on their toes in the search for the Chibok girls.

The government had asked the group to direct their demand to the terrorists and not to the government alleging that the group had politicised their demand.

Despite government’s comment, the group has continued to observe its daily sit-out sessions at the Unity Fountain in the nation’s capital, Abuja and they have resolved to intensify their advocacy for the rescue of the girls.

They say they are taking their advocacy forward with the plan to continue engagements with embassies in Nigeria and protest marches despite alleged threats by certain groups to stop the campaign.

However, a member of the group, Dino Melaye, believes a different approach has to be adopted, but stressed that for them, “the watchword is no retreat, no surrender”.

Many Nigerians are eager to see the safe return of the Chibok school girls after President Goodluck Jonathan had, in a meeting with the parents of the girls, said that the Armed Forces were doing their best to rescue the girls, assuring them that they girls would be rescued soon.

Group Asks FG To Focus On Rescuing Girls, Not Fund Raising

Bring-back-our-girls-protesters-599x330Campaigners calling for the rescue of abducted school girls in Chibok, Borno State have asked the government to focus on the rescue of the girls rather than raising funds for their rehabilitation.

The advice is coming a day after the Federal Government generated 50 million Naira for the victims of the insurgency in the northeast at a fund raising dinner held in Abuja.

The group described the gesture of the government as a misplaced priority, restating their commitment to constantly demanding for the rescue of the girls by the government.

It is 109 days since over 200 school girls were abducted in their dormitory in Chibok, Borno State by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram and the campaigners have continued to hold sit-out sessions at the Unity Fountain ground in spite of the whether condition.

Deviation From Major Objective

This time, the evening showers in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, did not stop them from gathering‎.

One after the other, they raised concerns over the recent launch of the victims support initiative.

Most of the members say the fund raising is a deviation from the major objective of rescuing the girls. In all, they plan to keep demanding the safe return of the girls.

The military said in May that it had identified the locations of the girls but was applying caution to ensure there would be no casualty.

In a recent meeting with the parents of the abducted girls, President Goodluck Jonathan promised the safe return of the girls, but the campaigners and members of the international community hope to see the rescue of the Chibok girls soon.

 

Jonathan’s Meeting With Parents Of Abducted Girls ‘Never Too Late’ – Omeri

Mike-OmeriThe coordinator of the National Information Centre in Nigeria, Mr Mike Omeri, has dismissed critics’ reactions to President Goodluck Jonathan’s meeting with the parents of the abducted Chibok girls, saying “it is never too late for the president of a country to meet with citizens”.

Mr Omeri’s comment is coming on Wednesday, a day after president Jonathan met with the parents of the abducted girls and some of the girls that escaped from the members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, that abducted the girls form their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14.

Critics had said that the meeting had been long overdue, but Omeri insisted that the peculiar nature of the Chibok issue had led to the purported delay.

One hundred days are gone and over 200 girls are still in the custody of their abductors waiting for the rescue day, that President Jonathan had promised since they were abducted.

Again, at the Tuesday meeting, President Jonathan reassured the parents of the abducted girls that their children would be rescued soon.

Mr Omeri said that the meeting was quite frank, as it was able to put issues in perspective and ensured that parents got assurance from the President.

“At the meeting, the parents were able to communicate what happened to the President.

“When the girls that escaped from the member of Boko Haram after they were taken on April 14 told their stories, they said that they were helped by Nigerians who they met in the bush and that goes further to state that the Nigerian spirit of wanting to help each other is still in us.

“The President would have gone to Chibok, but the concentration as at the time it happened was towards rescuing the girls and stopping the insurgency and that may have explained the initial gap in meeting the parents,” Mr Omeri explained.

“Finding Peace Where It Is Missing”

While the military is striving to quell the insurgency and attacks mostly in the northeast by terrorists, calls have been made for adequate orientation of citizens geared towards establishing and enforcing peace.

Mr Omeri said that quite a number of orientation programmes were ongoing.

“Before the abduction, we had initiated a workplace peace orientation programme. I visited a number of camps for displaced persons and cattle ranches and farmers residents. We came together to design architecture that will sustain peace building and peace enforcement.

“Participants demonstrated the commitment to finding peace where it is missing and supporting the government’s efforts to ensure that peace permeates the system.

“We will take external measures to ensure that the peace project reaches all corners of the country,” he said.

Few weeks after the girls were abducted, several protests were held in Nigeria, but a group, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls Campaigners’, had continued a sit-out protest at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, demanding for more efforts from the government in securing the girls rescue.

However, the government had asked the group to direct their protest at the abductors of the girls and not at the government, alleging that the protest has being politicised.

Asked what his thought was about the group’s protest, Mr Omeri said that to the extent that the protesters were focusing their attention on the global challenge on terrorism, it was a just course.

He, however, said: “Where the issue at hand is taking us away from the primary concern of rescuing Chibok girls, we will certainly not be in the same boat.

“When the messaging is shifting, then the local Bring Back Our Girls could be said to be communicating the wrong message and attracting attention.

“‘He who has taken should bring back’ that is what they are asking for and we should all make that demand,” he emphasised.

Where Are The Girls?

On the strength of the military to tackle the Boko Haram sect, Mr Omeri pointed out that the military had ruled Nigeria for long years and that most of the leaders had one experience or the other with the military.

“That is not to say that they do not have military equipment because they were able to use what they had to achieve peace and secure territories within Africa and even outside Africa.

“We should commend the administration that has seen the need for us to re-kit and retune military hardware. We need to have and build a sustainable stock and asset for the military,” he said.

A question that has remained in the mouths of many Nigerians is:  “Where are the girls”?

A military Chief in May said that the locations of the girls had been identified and that the military was making plans to rescue them but were being cautious to ensure that there would not be casualties.

Mr Omeri also confirmed the claims but said that he would not disclose where the girls were or the time they would be rescued, citing security reasons.

Meanwhile, military operations have continued in the northeast against the Boko Haram sect that are demanding for an Islamic State and an end to western education, with international community providing support in area of intelligence gathering.

 

Army Seeks More Funding To Fight Boko Haram

Army trainingAuthorities at the Nigerian Army headquarters have identified inadequate finance as a major challenge hampering efforts to tackle Boko Haram insurgency in the north east and other security challenges facing the country.

At the opening ceremony of a training programme for the Nigerian Army Finance Corps Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers held at Jaji, Kaduna State, the Chief of Accounts and Budget, Nigerian Army headquarters, Major General Abdullahi Muraina, urged the Nigerian government to evolve other means of funding and supporting military operations other than the normal budgetary allocations.

According to him, apart from limitations of the envelope system, the Nigerian Army is also enmeshed in the bureaucratic bottlenecks for funding approvals for military operations.

Threat To Nation’s Security

The increasing dynamic environment coupled with continued technological development in the country and her immediate neighbours have spurred the Nigerian Army to place high premium on efficiency, proficiency and professionalism of officers and soldiers.

It is against this background that the authorities are agitating for improved funding to enable the military effectively confront insecurity.

Muraina also described Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers as the backbone of regimentation in the Nigerian Army, as they form the bridge between officers and junior Non-Commissioned Officers.

Delivering a speech at the occasion, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Kenneth Minimah, regretted the increasing wave of socio-political and ethno-religious crisis threatening the nation’s security.

The army chief, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding 1 Mechanised Division, Major-General Kenneth Osuji, noted that the current security challenges in Nigeria had left serious demands on the Nigerian Army resources, emphasising that funding was fundamental to tackling the security challenges.

Although the Defence Ministry had always received the highest allocation in past and present budgets, the Nigerian Army authorities are insisting that such allocations are still a far cry to funds needed to meet up with its constitutional obligations of securing the nation’s territory.

The challenges faced presently, according to them, called for concerted effort of all to enable it achieve its constitutional roles.

Their demand is for a special operation fund to be included in defence budget and placed under the control of the Chief of Army Staff.

Abducted Chibok School Girls Who Escaped Share Experience

Abuducted-girl-that-escapedSome of the abducted girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, who escaped from the clutches of their abductors, have recounted their experience when the insurgents.

They spoke out on Tuesday, three weeks after their abduction by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.

The girls, who were surrounded by their relatives and members of the community at the burnt down school premises, recounted their ordeal to the wife of the governor of Borno State, Nana Shettima.

One of the girls who spoke in the local Hausa language said she was the only girl who did not get into the vehicles brought by the insurgents.

“When I observed that the men were a bit harsh, I became suspicious. I ran and jumped the fence then I climbed a tree close to the school and stayed there. One of the men followed me with a torchlight and asked me to return but i did not answer him,” she said.

A recent report by the police put the number of girls that were taken away at 276.

The Borno State Commissioner of Police (CP), Tanko Lawan, said that “out of the 276 abducted students of the school, 53 female students have been rescued; while 223 are still missing.

They were abducted on April 14 by suspected members of Boko Haram the same day the group carried out a bomb attack on a motor park in Nyanya area of Abuja. The blast left over 70 people dead and scores injured. Several vehicles were also damaged.

Several efforts have been made to rescue the other girls, with President Jonathan reassuring Nigerians that the girls would be rescued.

On Monday, the leader of the sect, Abubakr Shekau, in a video, released by the group, claimed responsibility of the abduction and threatened to sell the girls in a market.