Freed Chibok girls unable to spend Christmas with family, residents say

FILE PHOTO: FPresident Muhammadu Buhari meets with released Chibok girls
FILE PHOTO: FPresident Muhammadu Buhari meets with released Chibok girls

Three days after they arrived Borno to celebrate the holidays in their community, the recently freed 21 Chibok schoolgirls were not allowed to spend the Christmas with or see their parents, residents have said.

The girls were said to have arrived Chibok amidst tight security on Saturday but were not immediately allowed to meet their parents.

A resident told PREMIUM TIMES that the girls were kept in the home of the member representing Chibok in the Borno State House of Assembly.

Residents were told the girls would not meet with their parents until the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, arrives Chibok to officially present them to their parents.

A school teacher in Chibok, told PREMIUM TIMES on phone that most of the parents were agitated by the fact that their daughters were in town yet they had to celebrate Christmas without them.

“There is tension everywhere now in Chibok”, he said. “The security is tight around Chibok town as I am speaking to you”.

“The girls were brought in three days ago and none of the parents could meet them. We thought they are here to celebrate the Christmas but they were locked up in the home of the House of Assembly member, pending the arrival of the state governor.

He said residents of Chibok are gathered at Chibok Central Primary school where the governor is expected to address them on Monday afternoon.

The governor is then expected to formally hand over the girls to their family.

The 21 out of the 208 abducted Chibok schoolgirls were freed in October this year following a deal between Boko Haram and officials of the Nigerian government.

The details of the deal were marred in controversy, but the government has denied it paid ransom or freed Boko Haram detainees to free the girls.

Since their release, the 21 girls have been in the custody of the Nigeria government.

In reaction to what the residents said, the spokesman of the Borno State governor, Isa Gusau, said the state government did not deny the parents the opportunity to spend Christmas with the girls.

“To the best of my knowledge, the 21 freed Chibok schoolgirls are still under the custody of the federal government. And when they arrived Yola three days ago, on their way home, they were received by the chairman of Chibok local government as well as chairman of abducted Chibok girls association as we all saw them on the national television.

“I am not sure they were denied access to their parents because that was the essence of them being taken to Chibok in the first place. If you say their movements were restricted for security reasons and for their safety, I think that makes sense.

“And I am not aware the governor has to be in Chibok before the girls meet with their parents. The governor is visiting parts of southern Borno as part of his earlier plans to celebrate the Yuletide with the people and also to inspect some ongoing projects there. He would definitely meet with members of the Chibok community and also say hi to the freed girls”.


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  • paul irumundomon

    One wonder, how these politicians reason. After the agony in the hands of boko haram for years, now is the politician, who must also kidnap them, these innocent victims I pray for you, who gave this publicity stunt order?
    The governor does not see the importance, to see these young victims as priority to project inspections. They are less safe in the house of an assembly member. From day one, I have doubt about how the whole kidnapping took place, this is one of many reasons, that concluded my suspicions.

    • Mufu Ola

      Who’s forcing you to believe kidnapping ever took place?

  • Julius

    We always do things backwardly !. Their parents should be able to see them even though they are still spending time with the authority maybe for health reasons. At least explain the reasons to their parents/ family

    • okenwa

      They fear the fake girls will expose them to the press.

      • Julius

        They are fake because unlike you the biafraudians, their parent didn’t demand ransom payment from the government and forget about the girls. Right ?

        • okenwa

          Sambisa falling and boko haram defeated but where are the girls? Thieves.

          • Julius

            In biafraud land. Haha, you didn’t even refute my comment, You know your people so well. Shame on y’all. Happy New year to you and the family in advance !!

  • Rick Eson

    We should not be in hurry assigning blame.
    We have to think about security for these girls.Being with the parent on Xmas day could pose high security risk since there lots if book escaping from sambisa forest.

    • okenwa

      Boko haram has been defeated as said by nigeria president. So what risk are you talking?

  • Damilola

    now that Boko haram has been finally ‘ousted’ as declared by the federal government, what about the remaining chibok girls? Are they gonr and forgotten for ever? No hope for them?

    • okenwa

      Its all scam.

  • okenwa

    When will newsmen be allowed to interview these scam girls?

  • thusspokez

    Is this news report the same events as reported by CNN below?

    “Kidnapped as teenagers, the girls were now returning home as young women.
    They have been taking English classes and playing outdoors, their caretakers told CNN. One girl, Agnes, added that they have been learning how to knit. Several have had surgery to remove shrapnel.”

    “Parents and other family members were waiting anxiously to see their daughters again.”

    “After landing in Yola, they were welcomed by the governor and local community leaders. But the second half of their reunion journey was delayed as the road to Chibok was deemed too dangerous to travel at night.”

    “So the girls gathered Friday night in their Yola hotel — surrounded by military guards — to pray and sing Christian hymns and songs. Their captors would have certainly not approved.”

    “At the crack of dawn Friday, the girls hit the road, accompanied by a military convoy that escorted them to Chibok. As we entered the town six hours later, we were greeted by a crowd of locals, many waving excitedly.”

    “The moment of reunion finally arrived amid scenes of unbridled joy. Parents and daughters embraced, the pain and relief of the past two and a half years etched on their faces.”

    “But then, suddenly we could hear wailing and heart-rending screams. Some mothers had come expecting to see their daughters, only to learn they were still being held by Boko Haram.”

    “These women had thought their girls would be among the group coming home for Christmas. Their moment of hope gone, they remained inconsolable.”

    “More joyful reunions like the ones we witnessed here may soon follow. But they may also be tempered by the grief of parents whose daughters are never coming home.”

    By Isha Sesay and Stephanie Busari, CNN
    Updated 0557 GMT (1357 HKT) December 27, 2016

    To read the CNN full report, go to the CNN website or google: cnn chibok girl.