The former Secretary of Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association (KADA) and Elder of Kibaku Chibok community in Abuja, spoke to newsmen in Abuja on the expectation of his people about the missing Chibok Girls now that election is coming up. Excerpts;
May we meet you sir?
I am Engr. Battah Ndirpaya the former Secretary of Kibaku Chibok Area Development Association and Elder of Kibaku Chibok community in Abuja.
Has the government done much in their promise to bring back the Chibok School Girls?
The truth of the matter is that insurgency in these villages are there. People are still the in IDP camp. People are not willing to go back. Those that have gone back are living under continuous fear. You can still hear of sporadic attacks on these villages; people being killed on their farms. It is rampant.
That is for people that have returned. It is giving concern to the people that are still in the IDPs. So for me the idea of the returning people (IDPs) back to their houses is not yet matured because as far as I am concerned the military has not taken control of those areas to give confidence to the people because there are still sporadic attacks by Boko Haram on villages; going to kill people on their farms. So they are scaring everybody coming to that place.
Basically they have tried but they have not achieved success yet. And I wonder when they will be able to give confidence to these people that are still in the IDPs camp, to go back to their villages because people are still living in fear.
Let me go as a Nigerian. How do we achieve peace in those areas? Army have been talking about clearance, final clearance, this that, but there are still people with Boko Haram in Zambia.
They are still coming out to attack and collect food from these communities. So I am really confused. And I have been thinking as a lay man, I don’t know how they can get all those things done without actually being offensive because I have never heard of Nigerian Army going to Sambisa and taking control of this people. All we hear is; there is an attempt by Boko Haram and it was repelled. When will Nigeria Army take offensive to the base of this people and uproot them. When will they go and say this is the headquarters of Shekau and we are now occupying it.
All we hear is there was an attack and it was repelled. Of recent the insurgency attack on villages is more frequent than before so we are wondering. That is number one.
Number two; for us members of Chibok Community, our girls are still in captivity. 102 of them and we are still waiting. Thank God when former President Obasanjo came, he said fight on insurgency cannot be complete until the Chibok Girls are back.
So officially I can say that the insurgency is still on because we have not seen our girls. Therefore when you come to ask me about the success of Nigerian Soldiers over insurgency, they are trying but they have not finished. The Chibok Girls are not yet back, and their whereabouts is not known.
I also saw a scenario which I actually felt very bad and I feel that the government and the security agencies are not taking the Chibok girls and their captivity serious. Recently in Jos, something happened that made me think that if Nigerian Army are interested in finding out something they will be able to get it.
That is death of Rtd Gen. Alkali. Rtd Gen. Alkali’s death, they were able to find out and fish out and even got the dead body of the Major General, within the shortest time possible. Why not the same zeal and professionalism be applied in the Chibok Girls matters. But because we are nobody, he is a general. Those girls are nobody and they are left to their faith.
Meanwhile the dead body of a General is being sought for until it was obtained, nobody slept. There is a dichotomy. We feel that we are not cared for and everybody is playing politics with our girls. That is very unfortunate.
So, Chibok community yes, our people are still in Chibok even though many of them have left their villages that are very close to the Sambisa and then back to Chibok where there is presence of Army formation. Two weeks ago there was an attack on a village and all they did was come and get their food stuffs and burnt the houses, so the last city that is between Sambisa forest and Chibok Town is no more there, because they have been attacked.
So the next attack we will hear is, Boko Haram is attacking Chibok. And I am very afraid that it is going to happen very soon because we raised the alarm and nothing is being done to see the fact that, okay we have raised an alarm that we are in danger.
It was reported last week of the formation of Army in the Chibok and Danboa that they had encounter with Boko Haram and they killed about two senior generals of Boko Haram. That is what we were told, but how are we sure. How are we doing it? Is it an operation that is done or is still in process of being attacked?
The idea of army to wait for them to attack before repelling it is where it is paining me. If you know where they are staying, why you don’t launch offensive on them and get them unprepared and possibly arrest all of them.
Today they will tell us they have cleared Sambisa, tomorrow they will say they are attacking the formation in Sambisa, the next day they will say they have degraded them. The next day they we will hear they are attacking this village. I don’t think journalists are reporting the issue the way they are. No, because it is confusing.
Particularly for us that have people that are in that area. I think we are not getting the right information that will help us to be comfortable.
The tendency which we are all aware, is that many people, particularly those that are feeding fat on this will not allow the insurgency to seize, because it has become a money spinning business activity.
What is the way forward now that election is coming up?
The truth of the matter is that our people are there, but possibly the government will do something to improve the activities of the security agencies. We will like to see that they are in charge and our expectation is that before the election or during this electioneering campaign, possibly our Chibok Girls will be released at least for the government in power to genre votes. They should put more effort to get the Chibok girls released.
How many villages have disappeared since Boko Haram started?
Well I cannot be very specific but the recent one that I am talking of is that the remaining village between Chibok and Sambisa was destroyed the last time they struck. That means that all the villages that were there before the insurgency have all moved. Some moved, some were attacked and some were not allowed to farm, they have to move.