Four years after, Chibok Girls’ parents grieve

A cross-section of the 82 Chibok schoolgirls recently freed from the Boko Haram terrorists who were handed to the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Al-Hassan by the Department of State Security Service (DSS), in Abuja on Tuesday (30/5/17). The Ministry is to immediately commence a comprehensive process of the girls’ rehabilitation. 02910/30/5/2017/Anthony Alabi/BJO/NAN

Four years after Boko Haram insurgents abducted over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, North-east Nigeria, parents of those still in captivity are still in grief, saying they would seek the intervention of the United Nations.

The parents have also vowed to head to the International Court of Criminal Justice (ICC) for redress.

The insurgents stormed the Government Secondary School, CHibok, and abducted over 200 girls on April 14, 2014. Over 100 of the girls were later released through negotiation brokered between the Nigerian government and the terrorists by a third party, including the government of Switzerland.

The belligerent insurgents reenacted the Chibok seizure in February when they kidnapped 105 school girls in Dapchi in Yobe State, 75 kilometres south of the border with Niger Republic. But the Nigerian government later secured the release of all but one of the Dapchi girls, although five others reportedly lost their lives while being taken away by the terrorists.

Commemorating the fourth anniversary of the 2014 abduction, parents of the Chibok girls on Monday pleaded with the Nigerian government to expedite action towards the rescue of the remaining girls, as it did in securing the release of the Dapchi girls.

The spokesperson of the parents, Ayuba Chibok, said they want to know the state of their daughters and when they would return home.

‘’It is sad that since their abduction and epilepsy of government action, a total of 107 of our girls are back, 113 remain in captivity.

‘’It has been four years now that we have not seen our daughters. We thought they will bring them back last year, but they did not. It is very traumatic, we have lost over 20 of the parents, we don’t want lose any one of us in this situation again.

‘’Let Mr President talk to us and tell us exactly why the delays. Right now we are hopeless and more traumatised than before because it seems the successes recorded is now considered as closure, since no one is paying any attention to our grief.”

The parents said they want to meet President Muhammadu Buhari to express their feelings to him.

“While we appreciate Buhari and his government for the negotiated release of our 21 girls, and another batch of 82, we wish to also make it known to you our pains and disaffection because it seems we are not being considered.

‘’When the 21 girls were rescued, we begged to be part of the reunion, so we could hear about our missing daughters, but we were denied that opportunity.

‘’Again when the 82 came home, we were so happy to knowing very well that we could meet them and hear about our daughters, even if they are dead so we could bring this to closure, again we were denied the chance to meet them till today.

‘’If there is any time we are so much worried about our girls then, it is now. When we don’t seem to hear anything again from any official, be it our local leaders, our state officials or the Federal Government officials. No one is saying anything to us at all.

‘’When the government promised to secure the girls’ release soon, we thought it won’t be long after the 82 girls were rescued, having seen how possible that was.

‘’So with the recent pronouncements and claims by Ahamd Salkida, our heart breaks and we are left with no option than to call for UN intervention and also to take the matter to ICC to seek justice,’’ the spokesperson said.

Mr Salkida, who is believed to have access to Boko Haram, said only 15 of the 113 believed to be with the insurgents were still alive.

Mr Salkida, in a series of tweets Saturday, which marked the fourth anniversary of the abduction of the girls, said sources within the group told him the others died mostly during military operations by government forces.

However, the government, responding to press inquiries, said it was not aware of the content of the claims by Mr Salkida.

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