Politics

Timeline of Chibok abduction  (June 16 – June 20, 2014)

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Here is a timeline of happenings surrounding the abduction of Chibok school girls in the past week…

MONDAY, JUNE 16. 2014

UN envoy, Gordon Brown, says govt. should show more commitment in finding Chibok school girls

Former British Prime Minister and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, has renewed calls for the release of the over 200 students that were kidnapped on April 14, 2014, from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram sect.

Gordon Brown, who made the call on Monday, June 16, 2014, in a message to commemorate the Day of the African Child at the UN in New York, urged the world to remember the abducted school girls during the celebration. He was speaking at the event tagged: A child friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Africa.

While in Nigeria, Mr. Brown was shown photographs of the abducted girls by the Chibok community council leader.

He said: “These are the names and faces of some of the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were abducted from their school dormitories eight weeks ago. Each girl has a story, a future they had planned, a family anxiously waiting for them at home. I was shown these pictures after visiting Nigeria this week. I met the leader of the community council in Chibok, the town from which the girls were abducted. Slowly and with tears in his eyes, he flicked through a file in which he had recorded the names and photographs of the girls. Not even the police and army have managed to compile such detail he has amassed from talking to the parents of the kidnapped teenagers. The file has 185 pages  one for every girl. Each page has a photograph, and beside each passport-sized picture some stark facts – the girl’s name, her school grade and the date of abduction. For the other 19 abducted girls, he has yet to locate photographs.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations again stressed the need for a combined effort in fighting terrorism in Nigeria North- East, and also reiterated its support for ongoing efforts by the Nigerian government to secure the school girls’ safe release.

The Day of the African Child celebration is June 16 of every year in honour of the school children that were massacred in 1976 during a demonstration in Soweto, South Africa. The children were demanding to be taught in their own language as well as a change in the poor education that was being offered by the apartheid regime.

FG restates commitment to finding Chibok girls

The Federal Government says it is committed to ensuring that the over 200 Chibok Secondary School girls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents are brought back safely to rejoin their families.

It, however, insisted that the fact they might have been separated and taken to different places was a major reason that the military is not considering the use of force in their rescue efforts.

The Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC), Mr. Mike Omeri, said this in Abuja while reacting to allegations by some Chibok and Borno elders that government was not doing enough in the search and rescue efforts for the girls. He further disclosed that the troops in Maiduguri have apprehended seven terrorists who infiltrated the town on terrorist missions.

Boko Haram kidnapped Chibok girls to get global attention – Police Affairs minister

The Minister of Police Affairs Abdul-Jelili Adesiyan has said that deadly terrorist sect, Boko Haram, abducted the school girls of Chibok, Borno State, to get the attention of the global community.

He said the abduction of the girls was to press home their demands which he described as ‘unknown’ and ‘unorthodox’.

The minister, while emphasizing the commitment of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government to have the girls rescued, returned safely to their parents, revealed that the president was concerned about the well-being of all Nigerians. Adesiyan accused the opposition of using the abduction of the school girls to stop President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

The minister said the opposition found it easy to insult the person of the president, because of his magnanimity to respect the Constitution. He said the war against terrorism would be easier if all Nigerians are patriotic enough to give relevant information to the security agencies, stressing that if other countries as America and Britain could overcome terrorism, Nigeria would also overcome it.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2014

FG launches Safe School Initiative in Borno state, invests $10 million

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, launched the Federal Government’s safe school initiative in Borno state.

The initiative which was birthed during the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Abuja from May 7 – 9, 2014, is to gulp a whopping $22.5 million, which, according to the minister, is to be made up of the Federal Government’s $10million, a further $10 million from the private sector, $1million from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and $1.5 million, which is Norway’s contribution.

THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2014

‘Chibok girls risk indoctrination into terrorism’ – Clark

Leading legal practitioner, Robert Clarke, believes that the more the Chibok girls are left in the camp of the Boko Haram sect, the more danger they may pose to the society when they return.

He expressed this concern during an interview on Channels Television.

He warned that if the girls are allowed to stay in the hands of the terrorists for up to six months, they risk being indoctrinated into the sect, thus posing grave security concerns.

He disclosed that the abduction of the girls was a human problem that could only be solved through negotiation with the insurgents.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) also noted that the involvement of the international community was an indication that the abduction of the girls was one that should be handled with more seriousness as against the way the war on terror had been previously handled.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014

Chibok girls’ parents tell FG to save girls before initiative’

Parents of the abducted Chibok school girls on Friday, June 20, 2014, faulted the Federal Government’s Safe School Initiative – a presidential programme that seeks more secured and safer schools for children, saying the development is not different from putting the cart before the horse.

The Safe School Initiative was introduced in Borno State on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, by the  Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, when she visited the state. She explained that the move was one of the initiatives of the Federal Government which would be jointly funded by the former British Prime Minister and UN envoy on global education, Mr. Gordon Brown.

Okonjo-Iweala had, during her four-hour visit to Borno State, told the state indigenes, especially parents that with the initiative fully operational, the issue of unsafe schools would be reduced drastically and other girls would not be abducted like the 219 school girls still in captivity in Boko Haram’s den.

But despite the initiative, some people in the state, especially parents of the school girls abducted by members of Boko Haram stated that the initiative was not their main priority. One of the parents questioned the wisdom behind such move, saying that it implies the Federal Government has neglected their children.

The parents pleaded with the Federal Government to show more commitment and ensure the quick rescue of their daughters so as not to put their lives in more danger. Okonjo-Iweala had, during her visit, rubbished claims that the Federal Government was no longer keen on rescuing the girls, who have now been held for about 70 days.

Presidential committee on Chibok abduction submits report

Presidential Fact-Finding Committee on the school girls abducted by terrorist group, Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno State, on Friday, June 20, 2014, submitted its report to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan who described Boko Haram activities as a country at war, vowed not to rest on his oars until terror is crushed in the country, saying Nigeria could not continue to live with the monster called Boko Haram.

Chairman of the committee, Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Sabo, while submitting the report, disclosed that during the attack on the school on April 14, 119 students escaped from the school premises, before the insurgents took away their classmates.

He added that 276 students were abducted, 57 escaped and had reunited with their families after escaping along the zig-zag transport route taken by the insurgents, or by bolting to safety when the insurgents laid-by for a rest, while 219 students remained unaccounted for.

Sabo told the president that the committee received the full co-operation of all stakeholders.

-MICHAEL NWOKIKE

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