In commemoration of the Chibok abduction anniversary, parents of the abducted schoolgirls and the community at large have called on the Federal Government to help in the release of the remaining girls.
This comes exactly four years after over 200 schoolgirls were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, a town in Borno state, northeast Nigeria.
The abduction of the girls over time has become a headline globally, as the challenges of the girl child in her quest to get an education also came to the fore.
About 112 girls are still held in captivity by the Boko Haram sect while 107 girls have either been released, found or escaped.
Groups, parents of the chibok girls are using this occasion to call for the immediate release of the girls, also not forgetting the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu who is also still held in captivity by the Boko Haram.
The schoolgirls were abducted on April 14, 2014, by the Boko Haram.
They were however released on Wednesday, March 21 when the insurgents reportedly dropped them off in Dapchi community.
The news of the release of Dapchi schoolgirls have sparked various reactions. Some of the reaction is that the Federal Government should channel same efforts to secure the release of Chibok schoolgirls.
Over 200 Chibok schoolgirls were abducted from the Chibok Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014. While the insurgents have released video showing the girls in their custody and some of them released, over 100 of the students are yet to be released.
‘Thank God, but what of Chibok Girls.’
That was one of the tweets by some Nigerians who took to social media on Wednesday.
See more tweets below…
Can we have the yet captive chibok girls released unconditionally too. It’s been way too long you know.
Unfortunately, the then Chibok girls are now Chibok women as most of them are now reported to be with children. We were blaming poor security not knowing that the culprits are VVIP, see how they were celebrated on the return of the said Dapchi girls. Nigeria Ndooooo!.
We should still praise them for their swift response . If the previous admin had responded quick enough we won’t still be having missing Chibok girls. Lest we forget its this same govt that managed to get some Chibok girls rescued
President Muhammadu Buhari has defended his administration’s response to the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls, rating it better than the reaction of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to the abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014.
The President took a swipe at the previous administration on Wednesday when he visited Yobe State, close to a month after Boko Haram terrorists abducted 110 schoolgirls from a secondary school – the Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi – in the state.
“The Federal Government’s response to the unfortunate abduction of the schoolgirls is a clear departure from the insensitivity of the past administration which looked the other way while the Chibok girls were taken away in 2014 and held in captivity for over three years,’’ he said in Damaturu, the state capital.
President Buhari said this during a meeting in the Government House, attended by security and intelligence chiefs, community and religious leaders.
Although security agencies and the government has come under criticism for the Dapchi abduction and the response to it, the President insisted that his administration’s reaction was “the best in the given circumstances”.
He said after receiving the news of the abduction, he ordered the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to take direct charge and brief him on a daily basis on the efforts to bring back the girls.
He added, “Within four days of the incident, the Minister of Information visited Dapchi and the next day, the Minister of Interior who was accompanied by the Minister of Information re-visited the school for on the spot assessment.
“I have ordered the re-strengthening of a Joint Operational Base involving relevant agencies and Services to coordinate the rescue mission. Consequently, the Service Commanders have not only established a unified Command Centre in Maiduguri, the Military has raised several rescue teams to comb the forests in the North East Theatre of Operation.”
Recounting the recent successes recorded by his administration in rescuing Boko Haram hostages and securing the release of many of the Chibok schoolgirls, the President gave the assurance that the schoolgirls will regain their freedom.
“I have no doubt that the Dapchi girls will be rescued or released. I want to reassure parents, Nigerians and the international community that we will do all that is within our power to make sure that the girls are brought back safely to their families,” he said.
According to the President, all options are on the table to ensure the girls are brought back.
“On 19th February 2018, we woke up to the painful news of the abduction of 110 students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi. Since this ugly incident happened, I have not left any stone unturned in making sure that the girls are rescued,” he said.
The steps being taken by the government include partnering with partnering with the international community including Nigeria’s immediate neighbours and holding talks with the terrorists.
‘‘Just recently, I reiterated our resolve to negotiate for the unconditional release of the girls,” the President said.
‘‘This is borne out of this administration’s conviction that doing so is safer devoid of risks and will not endanger the lives of our young girls who are in harm’s way.
‘‘There will be no rest till the last girl, whether from Chibok and Dapchi, is released. The girls, like all our citizens, must enjoy unhindered freedom and pursue their legitimate aspirations.
‘‘The Dapchi and Chibok students are our girls and must enjoy our protection. They must live to achieve their individual ambitions, to be great women of tomorrow. It is our duty to protect them.”
Beyond rescuing the schoolgirls and Boko Haram hostages, President Buhari said his administration would remain resolute in fighting terrorism.
He called on Nigerians to remember the level of terror Boko Haram was unleashing in the North East before he came to power.
He said, “Nigerians will recall that prior to our coming in 2015, the situation was chaotic with violent terrorist attacks being the order of the day. Terrorists had made life very unbearable for the people in Yobe, Kano, Kaduna, Borno, Niger, and even the FCT, Abuja.
“Our mosques and churches witnessed daily suicide bomb attacks. Parts of Adamawa and Borno States were helplessly ceded to the terrorists.
“But today, we have so far shown clear determination in tackling terrorism which is a worldwide phenomenon. We have not only degraded the power and dominance of the criminal elements, our security forces have patriotically exhibited an uncommon zeal in executing their assignment.”
The Borno Command of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps says 75 personnel of the command were killed while 15 were declared missing in action in the year 2016.
The Commandant of the Corps, Ibrahim Abdullahi, told journalists in a news conference that the officers were killed in separate attacks in Gwoza and Gamboru Ngala in the Boko Haram insurgency.
“We have alerted our sister agencies on the issues while the NSCDC national headquarters have assisted the families of the bereaved.” he said.
Abdullah noted that about 19 area offices belonging to the NSCDC across the state were completely destroyed by Boko Haram.
His words: “We will deploy additional 500 personnel in liberated LGA’s. We have already deployed 100 to Dikwa; we are preparing 30 for Monguno, while 20 of our men were drafted for Nganzai local government area.”
“Some of them are already in Chibok and Askira Uba local government areas.” Abdullahi stated.
Abdullahi said those deployed include the Anti-riot Squad, Bomb Detection and Disposal Unit as well as Intelligence and Detective Unit of the command.
The House of Representatives is to investigate why the Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state has not being reconstructed despite 500 million naira being earmarked for the project in the 2016 budget.
This resolution followed a motion sponsored by Rep Raphael Igbokwe who reminded the House that the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had flagged off the reconstruction project.
Lawmakers wondered if the funds have been diverted and called for a proper investigation to be done in the matter.
The House also resolved that all schools destroyed in the course of fighting insurgency should also be reconstructed.
The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a video clip which went viral on social media of soldiers alleging lack of food and water.
In a statement signed by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, the force said:
“We wish to state that the video clip was shot more than six months ago by some mischievous and disgruntled elements when 29 Task Force Brigade captured Alagarno Forest and environs in Borno State.
“It is disheartening that some mischievous elements have decided to circulate it now, creating the false impression that it is a recent occurrence.
“We wish to state further that the matter was conclusively investigated at the time, several months ago. The Board of Inquiry actually showed that, as at the time of the incident, the unit’s water tanker still contained water, but a soldier mischievously concealed it. That soldier was charged and punished accordingly.
“In addition to the unit’s water tanker, a borehole was subsequently drilled at the location and it is still serving both the military and adjoining communities.
“We wish to restate with utmost concern the continued commitment of the Nigerian Army to the total welfare of all its personnel,” the statement read.
The release was the outcome of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the Boko Haram, brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss Government.
President Muhammadu Buhari has also said his government would sustain efforts to free the remaining girls, kidnapped by the jihadist group.
“About 100 more (girls) are still in the hands of the terrorists,” Buhari told reporters in Berlin after a meeting with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. “We hope we’ll get some … intelligence to go about securing the balance.”
Nigeria’s Presidency has described the release of 21 out of the over 200 Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists as ‘a show of faith’ on the part of the insurgents.
Mr Femi Adesina, who is a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, clears the air on the release which had triggered rumours that it was a swap deal between the Nigerian government and the terrorist group.
He told Channels Television on Friday that the development was a confidence building step that would lead to bigger things.
“I have heard and read so much about what we gave and what we didn’t give.
“This is just a confidence building step that will lead to bigger things.
“In the past, there have been many of such meetings that would have led to releases but along the line, discussions broke down.
“Maybe they (the terrorists) trust the (new) process and they believe that they do this as a show of their trust and faith and believe.
“For now, what we have been told is that there was no swap and the girls were released just as a show of faith, a confidence building measure and I think it is good enough for us to believe,” he said.
He stated categorically that the release was not a swap, but was achieved through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.
The group said in a statement that the “wonderful development” confirmed what was known about the effort of the government to rescue the Chibok girls.
They added that while they await further details, they salute the work of Nigeria’s security services at the front lines and the tireless efforts of members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and the Civilian JTF.
The Public Relations Officer for NEMA, Sani Datti said in a statement that “Eight persons lost their lives, while 15 others who sustained injuries have been taken to specialist and teaching hospitals”.
The suicide bomber reportedly joined a cab before detonating the IED killing herself and other occupants.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer in Borno State, Victor Isuku, the ill-fated cab was about joining the convoy of hundreds of vehicles to be escorted by security operatives to the border town of Gamboru Ngala when the explosion occurred.
A witness at the Muna garage area, Adamu Garba said the vehicle had already made moves to join the convoy when the explosion occurred.
“The car appeared to be coming from custom area towards the garage,” he said
Describing the scene, he said he was trying to park his vehicle when he heard a loud bang.
“We all went flat on the ground. When we got up, we just saw pieces of human parts everywhere and a newborn baby whose mother had obviously died so we picked the child and sought help for the injured”.
Gamboru is an economically strategic town as it borders Central and North Africa from the northeast region of the country.
In 2015, the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, had killed at least 10 people in a town in northeast Nigeria, two security sources confirmed to Reuters.
The Borno State Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Waziri Imam, has died at the age of 54.
This development has made Governor Kashim Shettima to end his temporary relocation to Bama and tour of destroyed communities after visiting Chibok, Gwoza, Askira-Uba and Damboa local government areas, all in southern parts of Borno State.
The death of the Commissioner was confirmed in a statement by the Secretary to Borno State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa.
The Commissioner, who is a younger brother to an APC national chieftain, Alhaji Kashim Imam, died after a brief illness in Maiduguri on Wednesday morning.
He is survived by a wife and six children.
The Governor left Bama on Tuesday after nearly one week of Relocation to mobilize major reconstruction works.
Shettima visited Pulka, a populated village in Gwoza Local Government Area and also assessed destruction and ongoing reconstruction works in Gwoza town during which he interacted with thousands of residents that have since returned to their communities.
The Governor proceeded to Lassa for assessment before passing the night in Uba, another community in Askira-Uba Local Government Area, which was liberated from Boko Haram.
The Governor was also in Askira town, headquarters of Askira-Uba Local Government Area and met with the Emir.
The Governor left for Chibok to assess reconstruction works and interacted with some stakeholders before cutting his trip back to Maiduguri following the demise of his cabinet member.
The late commissioner was buried on Wednesday evening in Maiduguri in accordance to Islamic rites.