The parent thanked the groups that have been agitating for the release of their children.
A father to one of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, Shettima Haruna, on Sunday, said the schoolgirls would have been long forgotten if not for the continuous demand for the rescue of the girls by the #BringBackOurGirls group.
Mr Haruna was speaking at the daily sit-out of the group at the Unity Fountain, Abuja.
Mr. Haruna, who identified his daughter as Margaret Shettima, said the only time they heard about the abduction of the girls was from the daily demands made by the group on radio in Chibok, Borno State.
He also appreciated individuals and groups especially the women who take out time every day to demand that the Nigerian government intensify its effort towards rescuing the girls.
He said the women in Chibok asked him to thank the #BringBackOurGirls group for demanding intensification of efforts in rescuing the abducted girls.
The leader of the Chibok Community in Abuja, Tsambido Abana, said it would be insane for anybody to ask him why he was crying more than the bereaved.
Pointing to one of his childhood friend, Galam Pogu, whose daughter was abducted, Mr. Abana asked the group to give him a better reason not to bother about his friend’s loss.
Mr. Abana also narrated how he had known Mr. Pogu for a long time and how they hunted bush rats together as kids.
“Anybody who says I should not cry more than this man because my daughter was not abducted is mad and I can say it to his or her face,” Mr. Abana said.
Five of the girls who were able to escape from Boko Haram group were also at the venue of the sit-out. They had been brought to Abuja to meet with, at another event, Pakistani teenager and child rights advocate, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in the head in 2012.
The Chibok girls, however, did not speak to journalists as they were still filled with grieve at their ordeal and the thought of their schoolmates still in captivity.
A former Nigeria Education Minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili, quoted one of the girls as saying. “She could no longer go to visit her friend’s mother because every time she went to console her (her friend’s mother), she kept asking why it never occurred to her to hold her friend’s hand while she was escaping.”
Mrs. Ezekwesili said that the fastest way to send away the #BringBackOurGirls group was by rescuing the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
She said the group would not relent until the girls were brought home safe and alive.
In a recent statement, the spokesperson for the State Security Services, SSS, Marilyn Ogar, accused the #BringBackOurGirls group of running a bank account. She said it was a known fact that the group solicited funds from individuals.
Describing the group as a franchise, she said it was out to smear the efforts of security agencies in Sambisa forest where the girls were believed to be held.
However, Mrs. Ezekwesili denied that members of the group were committed to the#BringBackOurGirls campaign for monetary gain.
“Do I look like someone who will embark on a journey for the purpose of money? The new Nigeria we seek is where, though not comfortable for you, you sacrifice for him (pointing to a man seated in the crowd),” she said.
Mrs. Ezekwesili made it clear that the group’s focus was on the Chibok girls and nothing else.
“We are not in any way adversarial to our government. Demanding accountability is different from insulting a government,” she said.
Mrs. Ezekwesili said the group’s continuous demand for the girls’ rescue and intensification and communication of efforts made by government towards rescuing the girls had been surprising to most Nigerians due to a usual reticence of citizens amidst atrocities.
She said the group hoped for a new Nigeria that would not give in to such atrocities.
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