The National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle has cautioned the Federal Government that time is of essence in the release of abducted Leah Sharibu and other Chibok girls by insurgents.
The CAN President made the appeal on Thursday during a courtesy to Adamawa state to commiserate with the Christian community over recent attacks.
“Time is of the essence, every minute those people are spending in captivity matters so much about the years of heir lives. We don’t need to delay or hesitate any longer. We are glad that the president is still making promises, but let it be transformed into action. We want to see them back very soon.”
The Christian leader affirmed that the government has everything it takes to secure the release of Leah and the Chibok girls and any further delay could be dangerous.
“Our hearts are becoming sick; we have been hopeful. It is a government that is empowered to do work and they have everything it takes in order to know where these people are to get them out. The lives of the people in captivity are very important and attach to it, high priority.”
Meanwhile, father of Leah, Nathan Sharibu, urged the government to live by the promises made in the rescue of his daughter.
“I’m disappointed in the federal government because the president has called my wife several times and promised that he is doing his possible best to see that my daughter has been released. He sent some ministers to my house to encourage us that our daughter will be coming back very soon, but till now, we haven’t seen her.”
Rev. Ayokunle was also in Taraba state to sympathise with the government and people over attacks in Lau and Wukari which led to lives lost.
He urged the government at both state and federal to be more proactive in the protection of lives and property in order to forestall further attacks
The terrorists had returned the other Dapchi girls but left Leah behind for refusing to renounce Christianity.
In commemoration of five years in Boko Haram captivity of the Chibok girls, members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group set up chairs with the names of the remaining 112 girls and Leah as they hold their third annual lecture in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The chairs symbolise that the girls were kidnapped while in school and till this day, their chairs in school are empty.
Meanwhile, the parents of the Chibok girls held another commemoration event at the Government Secondary School, Chibok where their children were abducted in 2014.
Representatives of the community alleged that they were facing “genocide type elimination” by Boko Haram insurgents.
The President of Kibaku Area Development Association, Dauda Illiah, called for the Federal Government’s assistance in this regard and sought relief materials for victims of attacks.
He also urged the government to build a rehabilitation centre for parents and victims of kidnappings in Chibok.
He asked the government to complete the 40km Chibok-Damboa Road which said has not been completed for 40 years and has become a den of kidnappers.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given assurance that his administration will not give up on the remaining girls still in the captivity of Boko Haram terrorist group.
He said this in a series of tweets on Sunday on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls by the insurgents in Chibok community in Borno State in April 2014.
The President noted that while 107 of them have returned, he insisted that the Federal Government would not relent in its efforts in securing the release of the remaining girls and Leah Sharibu, as well as other Nigerians in captivity.
He stressed that he had promised to ensure that all the remaining girls were back and reunited with their families, adding that he was committed to fulfilling his pledge.
President Buhari said thousands of captives had been rescued by the nation’s security forces in the last four years and they would not relent until everyone held captive was freed.
He further congratulated the young women rescued from the terrorists on the successes they have recorded in their various endeavours.
He also praised them for their courage and determination to defy the evil ideology of the insurgents by continuing to pursue their education.
Read the President’s tweets below:
Today marks five years since the abduction of our Chibok daughters. We have succeeded in bringing back 107 of them, but we will not rest until all the remaining girls are back and reunited with their families. I made this promise when I became President, and I will keep it.
We will never give up on our missing daughters, including Leah Sharibu; and all the other people held hostage by Boko Haram. In the last four years our security agencies have successfully rescued thousands of captives, and they will not relent until every captive is free.
It gladdens our hearts to see the progress being made by the young women rescued from Boko Haram. We celebrate their courage & determination to defy the evil ideology of the terrorists, by continuing to pursue their education. There is no doubt that the world is inspired by them.
I extend our best wishes to all the Chibok girls in various schools in Nigeria and around the world. Special congratulations to Kauna Yaga Bitrus, who has excelled in her college in Maine, USA, and will very soon be receiving an ‘Against All Odds Award’ from her school.
President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed his vow to ensure the release of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls in Boko Haram’s enclave.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the President promised the parents of the kidnapped girls that he would ensure their daughters are returned home.
The President’s statement was in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok girls.
He said he is aware that the promise to rescue the girls is the main reason the people of Chibok voted overwhelmingly for him in the February election.
President Buhari noted that although his government has so far succeeded in bringing back 107 of the girls, he will not rest until the remaining are reunited with their families.
He assured the parents that his administration is still on the matter.
“Diverse efforts are being intensified to secure the release of the Chibok Girls, along with all hostages in Boko Haram captivity, including Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped from her school, Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018.
“On Leah Sharibu’s abduction, the interlocutors have reported encouraging progress so far.
“The report reaching us says her return to her family has unfortunately been hindered by the fear of the militants.
“They worry that heavy military presence in areas where they previously moved about freely could affect their safety after they return her to the government.
“At the same time, the military cannot jeopardise the security of the entire north-eastern region by halting their operations to accommodate Boko Haram’s fears.
“Leah Sharibu will be reunited with her family as soon as any conclusions are reached on a number of options being considered for her safe transportation.
“The success of the Nigerian military in subduing Boko Haram is evidenced by the large numbers of militants who have surrendered recently, especially in neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.
“A similar mass surrender of militants is expected to happen soon in Nigeria.
“While Nigerian military operations are ongoing, the government is also engaging with the militants but the talks have been affected by the factionalisation of Boko Haram – with one group adopting a hard-line attitude and intensifying attacks on Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, and another group engaging with the government for peaceful resolution,” the statement read in parts.
President Buhari also used this opportunity of the commemoration of the Chibok tragedy to commend the girls, now women, who have triumphed over it all.
He sent special greetings to the 106 girls sponsored by the Nigerian government to continue their studies at the American University of Nigeria, Yola.
He encouraged them to stay focused on becoming women who will inspire girls in Nigeria and around the world to triumph over the daily battles they face in a world that is often unfair to the girl-child.
President Buhari also extended his best wishes to Chibok girls in other schools in Nigeria and around the world.
He sent special congratulations to Kauna Yaga Bitrus, who has excelled beyond expectations in her college in Maine, USA, and who is soon to receive a special ‘Against All Odds Award’ from her school.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged that his government will not rest until the remaining Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in April 2014 are safely released.
According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this on Monday in Katowice, Poland, during a bilateral meeting with Swiss President, Alain Berset, on the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP24.
”We will continue to make the safe release of the remaining Chibok girls a priority and will welcome any kind of support from any quarters to make this happen,” he said.
Shehu in the statement added that President Buhari had spent the whole day at the International Conference Centre, Katowice, where he delivered his national address at the opening of the 12-day meeting of COP24.
He also met with several world leaders and visited the Nigerian pavilion at the climate summit.
During his meeting with the Swiss President, the Buhari thanked the Swiss Confederation for its efforts and role as intermediaries to secure the release of some Chibok girls and assured him that the issue of the remaining kidnapped girls and other abducted persons will remain a ”key priority” for the Nigerian government.
President Buhari and his Swiss counterpart also discussed joint strategies to ensure the safe return of the girls, building on the past successes of securing the release of some of the Chibok girls and other abducted persons in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
The President also welcomed the Swiss President’s commitment to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria and to ensure the safe release of the abducted school girls.
The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of sweeping the report by an investigative panel on the abduction of the Chibok Girls ‘under the carpet’.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy, Malam Isa Gusau on Wednesday, Shettima stated that the former President failed to publish the report in his book titled, ‘My Transition Hours’ which was launched on Tuesday.
He said this in reaction to Chapter Four of the book titled, ‘The Chibok School Girls Affair’.
He described the alleged omission of the report as a “clever attempt to sweep under the carpet, incontrovertible facts surrounding the April 14, 2014 Chibok abduction”.
The statement read in part, “The whole of Tuesday night, I took the pains of reading His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s book, My transition hours, from the first to the 177th page.
“I took particular interest in Chapter Four (the Chibok School Girls Affair) which has 42 paragraphs written on pages 27 to 36. I was amused that despite admitting in paragraph 15, that he had (in May 2014) constituted a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee under Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo and many others “to investigate” the Chibok abduction, former President Jonathan refused to mention any part or whole of the findings by that panel which had submitted a highly investigative report submitted to him on Friday, June 20, 2014 after the panel held investigative meetings with the then Chiefs of Defense Staff, Army Staff, Air Staff, the DG, DSS and IGP, met all security heads in Borno, visited Chibok, met with parents of abducted schoolgirls, met surviving students, interrogated officials of the school and the supervising ministry of education, interrogated officials of WAEC and analyzed all correspondences.
“What has become very clear is that the former President decided to sit on facts in his custody while he published, in an elementary standard, a book of fiction designed to pass guilty verdicts to anyone but himself, with respect to the open failures of his administration to rescue our daughters and in tackling the Boko Haram challenge”.
Governor Shettima further stated that “At the end, the panel submitted it’s report directly to President Jonathan on Friday, the 20th of June, 2014 in Abuja. President Jonathan has refused to make public the findings submitted to him.
“I was expecting the findings in his book but he has deliberately swept that report under the carpet”.
He also claimed that in page 31 of the book, the former president noted that the Boko Haram Insurgents wanted a Muslim President rather than himself who was a Christian.
He described the idea as laughable saying that it was clear to him after reading the book, that he (Jonathan) “still lives with poor understanding of issues under his presidency”
“The insurgents actually began their deadliest attacks in Borno under the regime of late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, a Muslim from northern Nigeria.
“We know for a fact that as vicious cycle of evil, Boko Haram fighters do not care about the religion of their targeted victims. They attack Mosques and churches.
“They are lunatics who regard anyone who doesn’t share their ideology as an infidel. So, I wonder how the former President didn’t take time to understand the biggest challenge under his presidency” Shettima said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration remains committed to the rescue of the remaining Dapchi school girl, Leah Sharibu, who is still being held captive by Boko Haram Insurgents, as well as the other Chibok school girls.
The President gave the assurance on Friday while speaking at the Nigerian Army Day celebration 2018 in Monguno, Borno State.
“I want to use this opportunity to reassure the world, Nigerians and the families of the remaining kidnapped Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu of the Dapchi School girls that this administration will not relent in our efforts to see that they are all released,” he said.
On the increased herdsmen/farmers crisis, President Buhari also stated that efforts are on to bring an end to the killings.
“I also want to assure all Nigerians that the issue of farmers and herdsmen clashes is being tackled and all those found culpable will be brought to justice”.
He, however, urged Nigerians to remain “tolerant, loving and ready to give peace a chance”.
“None of our religions or cultures accepts killing of people for any reason whatsoever. We must all rise as one to condemn this vile and wicked acts to ensure that all the culprits are brought to justice,” he said.
Ahmad Salkida, the journalist who is known to have access to the Boko Haram terrorist group, has said that 30 out of the remaining 113 abducted Chibok girls are alive.
He revealed the figure in a series of tweets on Tuesday, days after he had claimed that only 15 of the abducted girls in captivity were alive.
According to the journalist, the objectives his earlier tweets on Saturday which marked the fourth-year anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls included compelling the Federal Government and the insurgents to come clean with the information they have.
He, however, said one of the leaders of the Jama’atu Ahlis-Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram) has clarified the earlier information about 15 girls.
“Indeed, the 15 Chibok girls are available, but known to a particular cell that spoke to me emphatically days leading to the 4th anniversary,” Salkida said.
“However, two other cells within the larger group has brought additional information, clarifying the earlier information, that there are another 10 girls available to another cell. Outside of the 15 and 10, another five amongst the girls are also alive as at early hours of today (Tuesday), he added.
As the search for the missing Chibok girls continues, the reporter disclosed that the group told him the set of five has asked not to be considered amongst those likely be included in any possible release in the future.
He said this was because they have apparently become permanently embedded in the doctrines and teaching programs of the terrorist group.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had earlier dismissed Salkida’s claim of only 15 Chibok girls still living, through a statement from the presidency.
According to the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, the information is not available to the government, either from the captors of the girls or the international Negotiators working with the government.
Salkida, in his reaction, faulted the government for the statement which he described as ‘disappointing’, given the machinery available to it.
Senate President Bukola Saraki on Sunday said that he feels the pain of the parents of the remaining 112 Chibok Girls and the Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who are still in Boko Haram’s captivity.
Saraki in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, called for concerted efforts by governments, security agencies, religious and community leaders to ensure the release of the girls.
“As a parent, I feel the pains of these unfortunate young girls from Chibok and the latest one – Leah Sharibu – from Dapchi, their parents and the people and Governments of Borno and Yobe States over these harrowing experiences.
“However, all hope is not lost. We are all involved in this. Their return will give us joy while their continued stay in captivity will inflict us with perpetual torment of failure,” he said.
April 2018 marks four years remembrance of the over 200 schoolgirls who were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok by the insurgents. While many of the girls were released, a few others narrowly escaped the abduction.
The Senate President said although four years have elapsed since the sad incident of the Chibok girls’ kidnap, it must not dampen efforts being made to see the girls are rescued and reunited with their families and loved ones.
He called on the parents to remain steadfast adding that the government will never relent in efforts to see their daughters back home safely.
“This is no time for blame game or passing the buck. We must all gear up and work together to see these girls rescued within the shortest possible time. I believe that the last four years has given us ample time to reflect on the calamity, review our modus operandi – politically and militarily – and resolve to ensure that all Nigerians are adequately protected.
“Let’s fine tune the strategies that have won us successes and discard those that have failed us. The goal and focus must be clear – to rescue our girls and all those in forced captivity in any part of the country, and ultimately, to restore our pride as a sovereign entity.
“This is the time for all stakeholders to retool and re-strategise to ensure that all these girls are not only rescued but do all in our power to put a closure to all cases of kidnapping and insurgency in this land,” he said.
The President of the Senate also called on all Nigerians who can help to come to the aid of government and the security agencies on how to rescue the girls.
He also urged security agencies to keep people abreast of developments about the issue to avoid the speculations and talks like the one insinuating that many of the girls may have died.
The Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, has asked the Federal Government to do more in rescuing the abducted Chibok girls and the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu.
Mr Ojigho stated this in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Borno.
“What happened in Chibok should have served as a wake-up call to the Nigerian government. Yet four years on, thousands more women and girls have been taken from their homes and forced to live in captivity, in events largely unnoticed and unreported by media,” Mr Ojigho was quoted as saying in a statement by the Media Manager of the organisation, Isa Sanusi.
“The time is long overdue for the government to deliver meaningful action on behalf of all these victims of Boko Haram’s crimes.
“Far more support must also be provided for past victims. For the families of those still missing, the government should open a register for abducted people, ensuring that the tens of thousands of people living in displacement camps get the opportunity to register their loved ones.”
The Chibok girls were abducted on April 14, 2014, from theGovernment Girls Secondary School in Chibok.