Govt should rebuild Chibok community fast– Engr. Battah

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The National Secretary of Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association (KADA) Engr. Battah Y. Ndirpaya has aired the opinion of most of his people concerning the abducted Chibok School Girls who are yet to be rescued two years after. He said that his people want to be given a clear response on the whereabouts of the abducted girls so that those who are dead will be mourned and forgotten. After which the wellbeing of other girls from the community who have been out of school since the abduction will go back to school.

He stated that the over 200 abducted girls were only a small fraction of girls in KADA who have been out of school. He therefore wants the government to do something towards providing education for the rest of KADA community school going children, who have been out of school since the ugly incident of 14th April, 2014.

On the story making the round that KADA people are clamoring to be part the contractors to rebuild the community, he said that there was nothing like that. “Chibok people are not interested in working as contractors in rebuilding the community, rather they are interested in having their community rehabilitated, no matter who does that”, he stated.

The ordeal of KADA people started on the night of 14–15 April 2014, when 276 female students were abducted from the Government Secondary School Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria by Boko Haram insurgents who claimed responsibility of performing the heinous act. In all, a total of 57 of the schoolgirls managed to escape at different times within few months after the incidence.

Boko Haram, the Islamist group wanted to institute an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria because the group who are opposed to western-style modern education, which they say lures people away from following Islamic teaching as a way of life, hence the name Boko Haram which means that Western Education is bad.

Boko Haram was able to get such number of girls when 530 students from multiple villages who registered for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination converged on Chibok to write the exam. The girls were aged 16 to 18 and were in their final year in secondary school.

It was on the weekend of 19–20 April, 2014 that the military released a statement that said more than 100 to 129 kidnapped girls had been freed. However, the statement was retracted, and on 21 April, 2014 parents said 234 girls were missing. It was the Nigerian Police that said approximately 276 children were taken in the attack by Boko Haram insurgents. Between April and May, 2014, a total of 57 girls escaped from the den of the insurgents’.

 

Non-Muslim students among the girls were said to have been forced to convert to Islam. It was also alleged the girls were forced into marriage with members of Boko Haram before the end of 2014. There were stories that some of the girls abducted were taken to the neighbouring countries of Chad and Cameroon.

The Boko Haram insurgents were sighted in the early days by villagers taking the girls to Sambisa Forest, a border town in Borno State.

On 4 May, 2014, the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, spoke publicly about the kidnapping for the first time, saying the government was doing everything it could to find the missing girls. At the same time, he blamed parents for not supplying enough information about their missing children to the police.

To add insult to injury a video was released on 5May, 2014 in which Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Shekau claimed that “Allah instructed me to sell them…I will carry out his instructions.” and “Slavery is allowed in my religion”, and I shall capture people and make them slaves”. He said the girls should not have been in school and instead should have been married since girls as young as nine are suitable for marriage.

Chibok is primarily a Christian community and Shekau acknowledged that many of the girls seized were not Muslims: “The girls that have not accepted Islam, they are now gathered in numbers…and we treat them well the way the Prophet Muhammad treated the infidels he seized” he said.

Also on 5 May 2014, at least another 300 residents of the nearby town of Gamboru Ngala were killed in attack by Boko Haram militants after Nigerian security forces had left the town to search for the kidnapped students. On 9 May, 2014 former Boko Haram negotiator, Shehu Sani, stated that the group wanted to swap the abducted girls for its jailed members. On 11 May, 2014 Kashim Shettima, Governor of Borno State of Nigeria, said that he had sighted the abducted girls and that the girls were not taken across the borders of Cameroon or Chad.

On 12 May 2014, Boko Haram released a video showing about 130 kidnapped girls, each clad in a hijab and a long Islamic chador, and demanded a prisoner exchange.

On 15 July2 014, Zakaria Mohammed (‘the Butcher’), a high-ranking member of Boko Haram, was arrested at Darazo-Basrika Road while fleeing from the counter insurgency operations going on around the Balmo Forest.

In May 2015, it was reported that the Nigerian military had reclaimed most of the areas previously controlled by Boko Haram in Nigeria including many of the camps in the Sambisa forest where it was suspected the Chibok girls had been kept. Although many women had been freed, none of the Chibok girls had been found. It was reported that some of the girls had been sold into slavery for N2,000 (about $10) each, others had been forcibly married to Boko Haram fighters and they may have been killed. Kashim Shettima, the Borno state governor said he suspected the Chibok girls were being kept in underground bunkers.

In January 2016 the Nigerian military were reported to have freed 1,000 women held captive by Boko Haram but none of them were Chibok girls.

In April 2016 Boko Haram released a video showing 15 girls who appeared to be some of the kidnapped Chibok girls. The video was apparently taken in December 2015 and the girls seemed to be well fed and not distressed.

Many kind spirited individuals and organizations, at the forefront of them is BringBackOurGirls Movement led by Former Minister for Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili are in the campaign to see the girls released.  The movement has been engaged in one of the most determined, principled and effective struggle to liberate the girls abducted and placed in bondage by Boko Haram.

For the past two years the movement has not changed the nature of its work as an advocacy organization demanding that the Nigerian State searches for and rescues these Nigerians illegally and unjustly placed in bondage by terrorists.

The group commemorated the two-year anniversary with the theme HOPE ENDURES in spite of the two years of failure. The hope received a boast following last week’s release of a “proof of life” video of some of the abducted girls identified by some of their parents. That sort of provides a renewed commitment of the Federal Government and the armed forces to recover the girls alive using all means possible including negotiation. The Movement has met with President Buhari twice, on July 8, 2015 and January 14 with the same message, the buck is on your table – #BringBackOurGirls. Two years plus days after the abduction, we continue to make the same demand. The Nigerian government must lead a well co-ord

 

inated, coherent, sustained and result-focused comprehensive multi-pronged strategy to free the girls from bondage.

 

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