Parents of the schoolgirls kidnapped from a secondary Chibok in Nigeria’s North-East state of Borno have urged the Nigerian government to confirm if their daughters were already dead, and hand over their bodies for burial.
The parents said they would rather welcome such news and prepare for the funeral than wait endlessly for update on the fate of their children abducted by Boko Haram April 14.
The solemn call came Friday, more than four months after armed insurgents stormed Government Secondary School in Chibok, loaded more than 200 girls on to trucks, and drove them away in the dead of the night.
For weeks, officials of the Nigerian government denied the abductions took place, and accused critics of sponsoring the reports to embarrass the government.
While the government failed to rescue the abducted girls, security operatives clamped down on protesters in Abuja demanding more action from the government.
President Goodluck Jonathan acknowledged the kidnappings only three weeks after, sparking international outrage. Mr. Jonathan later met with some parents of the abducted girls July, more than three months after the attack.
At least 200 of the girls have remained in captivity despite a multinational support from the United States, United Kingdom, France and Israel. The four countries have provided intelligence and specialist support to assist the Nigerian military search and rescue the girls.
On Friday, marking 130 day of the girls’ abduction, over 50 protesters marched from the Unity Fountain to the National Secretariat demanding that the girls be returned alive.
The demonstrators distributed flyers and stickers. They chanted: “What are we demanding for? Bring our girls back and alive” as they marched.
One of the leaders of the march, Hadiza Bala-Usman, told PREMIUM TIMES that the parents of the abducted calls were asking the Federal Government to bring back the bodies of their children if they were dead already.
“The parents said they would rather know that theirs daughters are dead and their bodies brought back and buried so as to put an end to this endless wondering about the status of their children” she said.
“They are calling on the Federal Government to help them search for the bodies of their children; that’s if they are dead. It’s better for them to know that their kids are dead and the bodies are brought back.”
Ms. Bala-Usman said the march was aimed at promoting continued awareness around the girls’ abduction.
An official of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Jibrin Ibrahim, who was also at the protest ground, told PREMIUM TIMES that the march was to remind the Federal Government of its responsibilities.
“Today is 130 days since the abduction of the girls. Since they were abducted, our government promised us swift action, to search and rescue them; that, has not happened. We are therefore out on the street to remind the government that they have a responsibility to rescue these girls and return them to their parents and homes,” Mr. Ibrahim said.