Chibok Abduction: Release Of Schoolgirls Is Work In Progress, Says Presidency

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

The Presidency on Wednesday reiterated its commitment to securing the release of the missing students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, saying rescue efforts is a work in progress.

A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, reassured parents and all concerned citizens that the safe return of the students “remain constantly on the minds of government as they are always on the minds of their parents.”

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents had on April 14, 2014 stormed the school facilities and whisked away over 276 schoolgirls, an incident that drew widespread condemnation across the world.

Although most of the 276 girls escaped or were later released, more than 112 girls are still missing.

READ ALSO: Seven Years After, Calls For Rescue Of Missing Chibok Schoolgirls Continue

Today marks the seventh anniversary of that tragic incident, with calls being renewed for the Federal Government to step up its efforts in facilitating the return of the schoolgirls.

But the presidential spokesman called on Nigerians to continue to remember the nation’s military in their prayers.

He said, “No one is giving up hope here. Efforts to secure their release through various channels and activities of the security and intelligence agencies remain on course.

“The recent decisive push by the military against the terrorists gives hope that a breakthrough is possible and could happen anytime soon.

“The Presidency asks for support, understanding and prayers for the military as they discharge their historic mandate to quickly finish off the insurgency war and free all citizens held hostage.”

Matawalle Reveals Involvement Of Watchman In Zamfara Schoolgirls’ Kidnap

A group of girls previously kidnapped from their boarding school in Jangebe arrive on March 2, 2021 at the Government House in Gusau, Zamfara State upon their release.  AFP

 

The watchman of Government Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State was involved in the abduction of the schoolgirls on February 26.

This is according to the state governor, Bello Matawalle, who revealed this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

Although the governor did not reveal the identities of other personalities behind the abduction of the schoolgirls, the governor said information at his disposal indicated that the school’s security guard aided the bandits in whisking the students away.

“The watchman of the school,” the governor said in reaction to who was involved in the abduction of the over 200 schoolgirls in Jangebe.

“The children have mentioned that after releasing them, the bandits were telling them to greet the watchman for them. They even mentioned his name that he is the one who gave them the go-ahead to come, that he was involved.

“They have said it in front of the Commissioner of Police in Zamfara State. I assure Nigerians that investigation will be carried out and all people involved will be known,” he added.

Speaking further, the governor said that he is ready to resign if that will end insecurity in the state.

He also reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of Zamfara State as a ‘no-fly zone’, noting, “I am ready to accept any solution that will bring security to my state.”

“I am not intimidated. If I know that my resigning as a governor will make the people sleep with their two eyes closed, I can resign. I am ready to do what will bring security. I am not power-hungry. I have been having sleepless nights to protect the people of Zamfara State.”

According to Matawalle, he had no issue with the no-fly-zone declared by the Federal Government.

The Zamfara State governor clarified that the Security Council should have invited him before making some decisions.

President Buhari Celebrates Release Of Abducted Zamfara Schoolgirls, Calls For Greater Vigilance

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari presided over a Virtual Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Kano-Katsina-Jibya-Maradi with a branch line to Dutse Railway Project in State House on February 9. 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed overwhelming joy over the release of the abducted female students in Zamfara State.

Reacting to the development, in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday the President said “I join the families and people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of these traumatized female students.”

He also said he was excited that their ordeal came to a happy end without any incident, adding that “being held in captivity is an agonizing experience not only for the victims but also their families and all of us.”

While celebrating the release of the students, the President called for greater vigilance by the people so that human intelligence could be collected early enough to nip the bandits’ plans in the bud.

He also warned that the time has come to reverse, completely, the grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping.

“Ransom payments will continue to prosper kidnapping,” President Buhari said while urging the Police and the Military to go after the kidnappers and bring them to justice.

The freed Zamfara Schoolgirls arrived at the State Government House in the capital city, Gusau in the early hours of Tuesday, wearing face masks and light blue and brown chadors.

 

 

Shortly after, they had breakfast and are now scheduled to visit the hospital for checks before a reunion with their families.

317 of the girls were said to have been abducted last Friday from their boarding school, the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The Governor, Bello Matawalle, however, put the number of abducted and recovered schoolgirls at 279.

Seven of the girls had earlier escaped their captors.

Governor Matawalle said the 279 were released with the help of repentant bandits without any ransom paid.

Their abduction is the latest in a series of increasing abductions witnessed in the country within the last three months.

Rwanda Scraps Tax On Sanitary Pads To Make Them Cheaper

(PHOTO USED TO DEPICT THE STORY) In this file photo taken on April 10, 2018 Indian employees at the Myna Mahila Foundation prepare sanitary pads at their office in Mumbai.PHOTO: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

 

Rwanda announced on Wednesday it was scrapping an 18 percent value added tax on sanitary pads to make them cheaper for girls who are often forced to skip school during their periods.

The country becomes the latest to drop the controversial tax which has increasingly infuriated women around the globe who argue tampons and pads are basic necessities and should not be subject to taxes.

“The Government of Rwanda has added Sanitary Pads to a list of goods that are VAT exempted in a bid to ease their affordability,” the ministry of gender and family promotion announced on its website and on Twitter Wednesday.

The move came after fierce lobbying from feminist groups and NGOs urging government to act to reduce the price of sanitary pads in the country.

“This is a step in the right direction but not the ultimate solution. It is a shame that girls have to drop out of school just because of a biological process, so it is a good step what government is trying to do,” Annette Mukiga, a feminist activist in Rwanda told AFP.

“Our target is to make sure that sanitary pads are free, not just cheap but free in all schools, so that girls do not have to worry about this challenge anymore.”

In 2017 a study conduction by the education ministry showed that girls aged 16 and above were eight percent more likely to drop out of school than boys, especially in rural areas.

The report cited lack of access to sanitary pads during menstruation as one of the reasons for this.

Kenya is credited with being the first country to abolish taxes on menstrual products in 2005, and in recent years many have followed suit.

However Tanzania in June decided to re-introduce the tax after having done away with it in 2018, arguing it was counterproductive as retailers had not lowered their prices.

AFP

Burundian Schoolgirls Jailed For Scratching President’s Photo

UN Pushes Burundi To Reach Agreement On 2020 Elections
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza (2ndL) arrives in a car for celebrations marking the country’s 53rd Independence Anniversary at Prince Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura. Marco LONGARI / AFP

 

Three teenage schoolgirls in Burundi have been sent to prison to await trial for scribbling on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza in textbooks, activists said Thursday.

The girls, aged 15, 16 and 17, face up to five years in prison for insulting the head of state if found guilty.

Judges said the three girls should be “prosecuted for contempt of the head of state”, and ordered them to a juvenile section of a prison in the north of Burundi at Ngozi to await trial, said FENADEB, a civil society umbrella group of 48 organisations.

The trio has been in custody since March 12, when they were arrested with three other schoolgirls and a 13-year old boy. The boy was released immediately because he was below the age of criminal responsibility, while the three girls were released without charge.

READ ALSO: 12 Killed In Egypt Chemical Plant Blast

The girls are accused of defacing photographs of Nkurunziza in five textbooks belonging to their school, but teachers pointed out that the books are shared among all the pupils as there are not enough for everyone to have their own.

A judicial source, who called the case “very sensitive” and said it was overseen directly by the Attorney General, reported that the girls arrived at the prison on Wednesday afternoon.

It was not clear when they might face trial, but the father of one of the girls said they were already “too scared to eat”, according to Lewis Mudge, from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In 2016, several schoolchildren were handed prison sentences for similar scribbles on the president’s face, and hundreds of pupils expelled, sparking an international outcry.

Burundi has been in turmoil since Nkurunziza in April 2015 sought a fiercely-contested third term in office.

The violence has claimed at least 1,200 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people between April 2015 and May 2017, according to estimates by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has opened an investigation.

“With so many real crimes being committed in Burundi, it’s tragic that children are the ones being prosecuted for harmless scribbles,” HRW’s Mudge added.

“Authorities should focus on holding perpetrators of serious rights violations to account instead of jailing schoolchildren for doodles.”

AFP

APC Asks Nigerians To Pray For Schoolgirls Still In Captivity

APC Asks Nigerians To Pray For Schoolgirls Still In Captivity

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked Nigerians to pray for the safe return of the remaining abducted schoolchildren and others in the captivity of the Boko Haram terrorists.

The party made the plea on Saturday in an Easter message to the people signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi.

It said as Nigerians gather around family, friends and loved ones for the festivities, they should remember the girls and others in the custody of the insurgents in their thoughts.

The APC, however, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government remains solidly committed to ensuring their safe release and bring lasting peace to the troubled North-east region.

It further joined Christian faithful in the country and across the world in celebrating Easter which commemorates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In line with the true essence of Easter, the party urged Christians to take cognisance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Cavalry for the sins of mankind.

The ruling party called on all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious affiliations to emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ as epitomised by his life of understanding, tolerance and sacrifice.

It noted that if the country could achieve this, only then would the people co-exist peacefully as a nation and collectively achieve the Nigeria of their dreams.

Pray For Return Of Those In Captivity, Buhari Tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari is optimistic the remaining Chibok girls in captivity would regain their freedom

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to continue to pray for the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls, and others in Boko Haram captivity.

The president made the request in his Easter message to Nigerians on Thursday, one month and 10 days after the terrorists who abducted schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014, snatched 110 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State.

Five of the Dapchi girls had died in captivity, 104 of them were freed on March 21 and reunited with their parents on Sunday. However, the terrorists held one, Leah Sharibu, back; allegedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Her fate has remained a source of worry with many calling for her release.

President Buhari is thankful for the release of Leah’s schoolmates and is hopeful that all those still in captivity would also regain their freedom. He, however, believes the prayers of Nigerians would help.

“I am very optimistic that all others, including the Chibok girls who are still in captivity, will be safely released unconditionally to their families. I urge you to continue to pray for their safe return,” he said in a statement.

The abduction of the schoolgirls had raised concerns about the safety of schools, especially in the North East which is the hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency.

To ensure such an incident does not occur again, the President said security agencies have been given directives to protect schools.

“I have given clear instructions to our security agencies to prioritise safety in schools in areas where the humanitarian and security situation are still dire, in addition to ensuring adequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs),” President Buhari said.

With the 2019 elections less than a year away, President Buhari also used his Easter message to call on politicians to be law abiding.

He said, “As we approach the period of campaigns, I appeal to our political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of our electoral process.

“I am optimistic that with God on our side, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over.

“They are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong. I remain committed to bequeathing a legacy of supremacy of the people’s will through the ballot box.”

Knocks And Kudos Greet Return Of Dapchi Schoolgirls

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2018 a watchman stands at the gate of the deserted student boarding of Government Girls Technical College, where 110 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists at Dapchi town. PHOTO: AMINU ABUBAKAR / AFP

 

Mixed reactions have trailed the return of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State.

The schoolgirls were reportedly dropped in the community on Wednesday morning, more than four weeks after they were kidnapped.

READ ALSO: Ezekwesili, Others React To Return Of Dapchi Schoolgirls

Nigerians in reaction to this news have taken to social media to view their opinion. While some expressed great delight on the return of the schoolgirls, others demand more explanation on the ‘sudden return’ with no arrests made, despite the heavy security agents deployed to secure the state.

However, the Federal Government has said that the release of the schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorists was unconditional.

Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed on Wednesday said: “the girls were released in the wee hours of Wednesday through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country.”

See the mixed reactions below…

 

Jubilation As Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls ‘Return’

Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls 'Return'
Some of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls who regained freedom from Boko Haram terrorists on March 21, 2018.

There was jubilation in Dapchi town in Yobe State on Wednesday as Boko Haram freed most of the girls it abducted from the  Government Science and Technical College in the town.

Unfortunately, at least two of the girls are reported to have died as a result of the trauma while one of them was not released.

READ ALSO: Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls’ Release Unconditional, Says FG

One of the girls told Channels Television in an interview on Wednesday, hours after their release arrival that they were not maltreated throughout the period in captivity.

However, details of the girls’ return are still sketchy while the exact number of those that returned have yet to be ascertained.

We Won’t Rest Until Chibok, Dapchi Schoolgirls Are Free, Says Buhari

Some of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls who regained freedom from Boko Haram terrorists on March 21, 2018.

– Terrorists Invasion –

Members of the outlawed group had stormed the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, on February 19 and abducted many students from the school.

The Federal Government had consequently declared that 110 students were unaccounted for after the school was invaded. It had also increased security presence in schools across the state in a bid to prevent a reoccurrence of such incident.

Amid calls for the girls’ return, President Muhammadu Buhari paid a condolence visit to Yobe State and sympathised with the families of those whose children were abducted by the insurgents.

He told the parents of the students that his administration would not rest until all the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls in the Boko Haram custody were released and reunited with their families.

In another meeting with Mr Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State who was sacked recently, President Buhari explained why the government had “chosen negotiation” to secure the return of the girls rather than use military force.

“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” he had said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had also given a hint that troops were already closing in on the girls and their abductors.

“It can be earlier; maybe a week, it can be two weeks, but we are on it, and I’m telling you with all sense of sincerity that we are closing in on them,” Dan-Ali said during an interview on Dateline Abuja, a Channels Television’s programme which aired on Saturday last week.

Dapchi Abduction: Escapees Return To School, Recount Ordeal

Dapchi Abduction: Escapees Return To School, Recount Ordeal
File photo

 

Five students of the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, in Yobe State, who fled when suspected Boko Haram terrorists invaded their school.

The entire Dapchi community has been thrown into a sorrowful mood, following the invasion of the school by the insurgents which led to the closure of the institution (in the meantime) by the state government.

READ ALSO: Stop Feasting And Go To Dapchi, PDP Tells Buhari

However, hope seems to be returning to the community as some of the students reportedly held hostage managed to escape the terrorists’ enclave.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, one of the students Sadiya Mohammed, who was part of the students that escaped capture when the school was invaded, narrated her experience in Hausa language.

After the Federal Government confirmed that 110 students were abducted, Sadiya lamented that her best friend, Zahra Mohammed, who they do things together, was missing.

 

Sadiya Mohammed wants her abducted friend and other Dapchi schoolgirls rescued

 

She, however, said: “Honestly, we are saddened with the abduction because we don’t really gain; sitting idle at home with the value of education in our modern world cannot be over-emphasised.

“I call on the government to look at the pathetic situation to intensify efforts towards the rescue of our colleagues.”

Why We Redeployed Troops From Dapchi – Military

It is 10 days since the students were declared missing by their school authorities, as their parents have called on the Federal and state governments to ensure their safe return.

President Muhammadu Buhari, obviously worried about the situation, has given the assurance that he would ensure the safe return of the girls and other citizens in the captivity of the outlawed group.

The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, who also met with the Yobe State Governor, Mr Ibrahim Gaidam, also reassured him of the Federal Government’s support.

“I want to reassure you of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari in getting all these girls back,” he said.

“This is a primary responsibility that rests not only on his shoulders but on mine, as well as all my colleagues who are here and on those who are also operating elsewhere.”

On his part, Governor Gaidam called for improved cooperation among religious, community and military leaders to ensure the speedy return of the girls.

Yobe Attack: FG Confirms Abduction Of 110 Schoolgirls

Yobe Attack: FG Confirms Abduction Of 110 Schoolgirls

 

The Federal Government has confirmed that 110 students were kidnapped after suspected Boko Haram terrorists invaded the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, in Yobe State.

Addressing reporters in the state on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said: “As of today (February 25), we cannot account for 110 students.”

READ ALSO: Dapchi Schoolgirls’ Abduction A National Disaster – Buhari

There have been conflicting figures of the abducted girls since suspected members of the outlawed group stormed the school on Monday last week.

The attack sparked mixed reactions in the country while President Muhammadu Buhari sent a delegation to the school to ascertain the situation there and report back to him.

Barely four days after the first visit, Mr Mohammed a delegation of the Federal Government to the state to meet with the State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, as well as representatives of the Dapchi community and security agencies.

 

Lai Mohammed briefs reporters during a visit to Yobe State

 

He told reporters that the meeting which held behind closed doors was also attended by the Local Government Chairman and all the relevant stakeholders to get a first-hand information and progress report on the abduction.

The minister explained that school population on the day of the attack was 906 and after headcount, 110 girls were confirmed to have been abducted from the school.

“The total register of students that came to school on that Monday was 906 but as of today, 110 of them cannot be accounted for, and that is the situation,” he said.

‘My Sister Is Still Missing’: Dapchi Schoolgirl, Others Narrate Ordeal

Mohammed added that the meeting also identified measures to be taken to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident.

According to him, these include the deployment police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel to improve security presence in schools in the state.

“Far-reaching decisions were taken here today – one (of such) is that henceforth, the police and the civil defence corps will ensure that their presence is strong in every school so as to serve as a deterrent to insurgents,” he stressed.

The minister assured Nigerians that the government is using every available option to ensure the safe return of the girls while the security agencies would continue to work together to achieve the aim.

Parents Release Names Of 105 Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls (Full List)

Parents Release Names Of 105 Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls (Full List)

 

Parents of the students abducted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists from the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, in Yobe State, have released the names of the girls.

The parents, who revealed a list containing the names of 105 schoolgirls on Saturday, noted that they were the only source of credible data.

They also dismissed conflicting figures from various sources and asked the state government to stop giving attention to “fake data.”

Read the full list below:

1. Fatima Bashir
2. Aisha Kachalla
3. Zainab Abubakar
4. Falmata Wakil
5. Fatima Isa
6. Fatima Musa
7. Aisha Usman
8. Aisha Adamu
9. Fatima Isa
10. Hauwa A. Mohammed Idriss
11. Maryam Mohammed
12. Fatima Mohammed II
13. Hauwa Salisu
14. Hassana Gambo
15. Aisha Adamu
16. Adama Garba
17. Zara Grema
18. Maryam Daamkontoma
19. Zainab Bama
20. Fatsuma Abdullahi
21. Fatima Yahaya Tarbutu
22. Amina Yahaya Tarbutu
23. Amina Adamu
24. Hajara Ali
25. Fatima Abdullahi
26. Fatsuma Ali
27. Zara’U Mohammed
28. Salamatu Garba
29. Falmata Alh. Inuwa
30. Falmata Alh. Ali
31. Aisha B. Danjuma
32. Maryam Bashir
33. Maryam Aliyu Mabu
34. Fatima Modu Bamba
35. Aisha Modu Bamba
36. Hafsat Haruna
37. Rabi Alh. Nasiru
38. Hadiza Moh’D
39. Fatima Aji Hassan
40. Falmata Wakil
41. Aisha Wakil
42. Falmata A. Audu
43. Aisha Maina
44. Aisha Mohammed
45. Aisha Mamuda
46. Name missing on list
47.Zainab Usman
48. Hadiza Mohammed Taiduma
49. Maryam Ibrahim
50. Fatima M. Gira
51. Hafsat Ibrahim Gira
52. Maryam Ibrahim
53. Zara Tijjani
54. Amina Haruna
55. Fatima Adamu
56. Khadija Mai Sale
57. Khadija Ali
58. Habiba Musa Jakana
59 Fatima Bukar
60. Hajara Gidado
61. Maryam Basiru
62. Fatima Usman
63. Maryam Ibrahim
64. Leah Sherubu
65. Aisha Alh. Deri
66. Fatima Hassan Mustapha
67. Zainab Manu
68. Zara Tijjani
69. Zainab Bukar Abba
70. Hauwa Saidu Abubakar
71. Karima Inusa
72. Amina A. Abubakar
73. Yakura Sani
74. Rabi Yahaya Tela
75. Hajara Yahaya Tela
76. Marya Mustapha
77. Aisha Abdullahi
78. Maryam Adamu Mohammed
79. Bintu Usman
80. Fatsuma Mohammed
81. Salamatu Isiyaku
82. Hauwa Lawan
83. Aisha B. Danjuma
84. Aisha Moh’D Jakusko
85. Hauwa Bulama
86. Fatima Abubakar Jambo
87. Walida Adamu
88. Fanna Mohammed
89. Aisha M. Bukar
90. Maryam Usman
91. Aisha Abba Aji
92. Maryam Usman
93. Maimuna A. Hassan
94. Zara Musa
95. Maryam Mohammed Kaku
96. Khadija Suleiman
97. Habiba Nuhu Dan Inu
98. Fatima Isiyaku Aliyu
99. Sahura Jibir Mohammed
100. Khadija Grema Dabuwa
101. Zara Grema Dabuwa
102. Zara Mohammed Lawan
103. Fatima Mohammed
104. Fati Modu Aisami
105. Fatsuma Alli.