Adamu Jumbam, father of Aisha Adamu, one of the Dapchi schoolgirls who lost their lives while in Boko Haram captivity, said he was not happy with the Nigerian government and its security forces whom he blamed for the tragedy that befell his daughter.
Of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped in Dapchi in February, 104 were released by the Boko Haram, five died during the kidnap while one remains with the terrorists for allegedly refusing to put on a hijab and renounce her Christian faith.
Mr. Jumban spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in Dapchi village where he is currently mourning his 16-year-old daughter. He questioned the circumstances that surrounded the abduction and subsequent release of the girls by Boko Haram.
Speaking in tears, the middle-aged resident of Jumbam, a village 2km away from Dapchi, said rather than the Nigerian soldiers combating the insurgents after they came back to drop the girls, the soldiers simply “watched with folded arms while the insurgents left triumphantly.”
The Nigerian government had explained that in order to safeguard the lives of the freed girls, it refused to confront the insurgents when they came to deliver the captives on Wednesday.
But this argument did not seem to assuage the pains of the mourning parents of Dapchi.
Speaking amidst a large crowd of mourners and sympathisers that throng his family home in Jumbam, the bereaved father said he has lost faith in the Nigerian government.
He said the way his daughter and others were abducted from school and killed while in captivity of Boko Haram would continue to traumatise him and her mother for a long time to come
“It was my worst moment in life when I was told she died,” Mr. Adamu said.
“It has been a huge bereavement that befell me on Wednesday when these poor schoolgirls were returned and I rushed out to welcome them only to be told that my daughter was among those that lost their lives.
“I was told that they died on the way, and the Boko Haram simply dug the ground and buried them. This confirms that I have lost her, so we the family have nothing more to do for her than to mourn her.
“From the 19th day of February when they were abducted and taken away to the day they were brought back, I have not been myself. But I give gratitude to God when I eventually found out that she is no more, what I was scared and prayed against had come to pass. I pray God comfort her soul and forgive her shortcomings.”
Mr. Jumbam said despite his bereavement, many of them in Dapchi could not understand the “mystery of the abduction and the drama of the girls’ release on Wednesday”.
“We have no option than to still commend the government for seeing that most of the children that were taken from us have been brought back”, he said.
“But what bemused us most is that, it is very shocking and surprising to say that Boko Haram came into this community, picked our children without any one challenging them, and then brought them back on their own, dropped them in the town and then returned. That development has really unsettled most of us here in Dapchi.
“Every right thinking Nigerian should be disturbed by this development. Anyway, we are villagers and may not have insight to the undercurrent of what has been going on in this country. But to say the least, we have been cheated and dehumanised.
“How can one come to terms with this, for God sake? That Boko Haram came into our community, took our children and kept them for a whole month, no one could say where they are, then returned them without any form of explanation.
“They brought this kids to Dapchi dropped them in market area, spent about 30 minute in the community, then turned their vehicles and left. None of our security agencies that have been surrounding this community since February 19th made any move to go after them.
“Everyone saw them drive back via the route that they used to enter Dapchi. They even took their time to fix one of their vehicles before leaving. No single shot was fired against them. That was how soldiers watched and supervised their safe exit from Dapchi.”
Government Not Sincere
He says the government is not sincere in its approach.
“We don’t know what was happening. But it seemed this government is only deceiving us or playing politics with the lives of our children. If they say Nigeria is no longer safe for us, that our security forces cannot protect us, then perhaps they should allow us to go to somewhere where the government cares about the security of its people.
“Can anything be more surprising than this? How can you beat a situation where a thief came to steal your property, harm members of your household, then few days later, the same thief came with the stolen item, dropped it for you and left, while everyone was watching and almost applauding him.
“These Boko Haram gunmen came back in broad day, confidently as though they were the ones in authority. What else could be more surprising than this? It is a clear sign that this country is gradually becoming a failed state where security is not guaranteed; where the government has to bury its shame and tell everyone to take his or her security into their own hands, because they can no longer protect us.
“My daughter, Aisha Adamu, was 16 years old, a bright little girl that wants (wanted) to be a scientist in the future. She was in her fifth year in secondary school. It was her friends who came back that informed about her death. When I asked after her, they said ‘oh baba (father), your daughter Maidanwake (her pet name at home) lost her life on the way to the bush’ (sobs…). She was fasting when she died,” he said.