Over 200 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram fundamentalists on April 19, 2014, at their school in Chibok, Borno State. But seven weeks after, they are yet to regain freedom.
ENCOMIUM Weekly, brings you a timeline of events and happenings around the abduction in the past week.
Monday, May 26, 2014
We know where the girls are Chief of Defence Staff
The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh revealed that the security leadership in the country has finally located the dangerous den where Boko Haram terrorists have been keeping the abducted girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
He, however, added that the military could not use force in rescuing the girls, as it would endanger the girls, saying if we go with force, what will happen? We can’t kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.
…We can’t corroborate Nigerian military claims – U.S
United States of America said that it doesn’t have independent information to confirm Nigeria’s claims to know the whereabouts of the abducted Chibok girls, and questioned the wisdom of making public such information.
US State Department spokesman, Jen. Psaki, told international news agency, Reuters, “We don’t have independent information from the United States of America to support these reports that you referenced,” when asked about the statement of Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh.
She went on to stress that as a policy and for safety of the girls, as well as their well-being, the US would not discuss publicly this sort of information.
Former Kebbi governor takes swipe at Asari Dokubo
Former governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Adamu Aliero, rejected the claims in certain quarters that northern political leaders and northern state governors were behind Boko Haram insurgents in the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok, Borno State.
He also took a swipe at leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, over a statement credited to him that the girls’ abduction was fictitious. He said it was a wrong notion that should be wisely condemned. He further added that no sane person could ever fathom and eventually encourage the killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians.
Aliero, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said the insurgents were acting on an ideology and belief that ran completely at variance with Islamic principles and dictates.
Tuesday, May 29, 2014
Children’s Day devoid of usual fun festivities
On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, children all over Nigeria marked this year’s Children’s Day without the usual fanfare associated with the day, as over 200 of their peers remained missing.
Calls were made by most state governors, the National Assembly and school children as well as their mothers to free the girls. The authorities and security agencies were urged to intensify efforts to end the spate of killings especially in the northern region.
Enugu school children weep for kidnapped girls
Thousands of primary and secondary school children in Enugu State wept openly while praying for the safety and speedy release of the 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents.
The children, who were clearly unhappy, wept at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, venue of the Children’s Day celebration.
In Ogun State, scores of pupils from primary and secondary school in the 20 local government areas of the state, gathered at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta, to pray for God’s intervention for the release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls to mark this year’s Children Day.
The state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, his wife, Olufunso, religious leaders, other government officials and parents joined in the prayer sessions which lasted for over two hours. Prayers were rendered in Christian and Islamic ways.
Senator Chuwumerije criticizes Defence Chief over comment
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, criticized the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, over his comment that the Nigerian military know where the abducted girls are held, but would not rescue them forcibly to prevent them from being killed by their abductors.
The Senator, speaking to Senate Correspondents, wondered why the defence chief would say the military had discovered the camps where the abducted girls were being held, only to describe it as a military secret, saying such information should not be made public until after the rescue operation as it would notify the abductors.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Four more girls escape from Boko Haram abductors
Four more of the girl kidnapped by Boko Haram last month have escaped, Education Commissioner of Borno State, Musa Inuwa, told Reuters on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.
It would be recalled that 53 girls reportedly escaped shortly after they were kidnapped by the insurgents. Mr. Inuwa, who revealed this to Reuters in a telephone interview, also said that the four had been reunited with their parents since then. He, however, declined to give further details of their escape or say exactly when they escaped.
A senior Borno State official said it was not clear when they escaped and that the parents had not contacted the authorities when the girls returned.
Maku says rescuing Chibok girls is a priority
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said the rescue of the abducted girls remained a priority for the Federal Government. He made the remark during a post Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.
Maku also decried the situation where some protesters were casting aspersions at the Federal Government, instead of against the abductors. He said that the BringBackOurGirls campaign has been hijacked by the opposition, saying that the opposition was playing politics with the abduction and the general security situation in the country.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
FG offers amnesty to Boko Haram members
The Federal Government revealed plans to offer amnesty to Boko Haram once they lay down their arms. This was disclosed by the Minister of Youth Development, Boni Haruna, during a special event tagged, A day with young leaders of Nigeria, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
The minister enjoined the sect members to embrace the opportunity, by dropping their arms and ammunition. Haruna further disclosed that series of programmes would be mapped out to fully re-integrate those that would embrace pace into the society.
He recalled that the Federal Government extended similar gesture to Niger Delta militants a few years ago to curb restiveness in the region.
‘219 girls yet to return home’ – Borno State government
Secretary to the Borno State government, Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, on Thursday, May 29, 2014, said out of the 276 girls abducted on April 14 in Chibok, 219 are yet to be reunited with their families.
He confirmed that the initial figure of abducted girls was 276, with 53 finding their way back home and four also returning to their parents quietly. The number of the remaining missing girls now stands at 219.
Speaking in an interview, Jidda gave an account of the events that unfolded on the fateful day, as well as cleared the air on some controversies.
On the allegation that the state government stage managed the abduction to make the state of emergency appear ineffective, he described it as totally false and mischievous.
Concerning the letter reportedly written by the minister of education asking that some schools be closed and students be moved to Maiduguri to sit for the examination, Jidda, said the minister had only asked for security for the WAEC officials, but never mentioned Chibok or the girls.
He further disclosed that the Borno government had forwarded the minister a request to the commissioner of police and asked him to provide security. He went ahead to say that the state government did not have control over the security agencies and it used its security vote more than any other state in the federation.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Food crises hits Chibok girls, As sect runs out of food items
Reports have emerged that a food crisis has hit the camp of Boko Haram sect, who abducted over 200 girls on April 14, 2014, in Chibok, Borno State.
The development has reportedly forced the fundamentalist group to steal food and other items from communities close to Sambisa forest in Borno State.
According to reports, the sect had been looting villages, markets and food stores in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states for food items, which include gains, bread and yam.
A resident of Kamuyya village in Borno State, who gave his name as Bukar Umar, TV newsmen that though it was normal for the insurgents to ask communities to contribute money towards what they termed God’s work, looting the community, on the other hand, was out of it.
Boko Haram killed soldiers before abducting Chibok girls – Catholic cleric
A catholic priest claimed that the sect crushed security forces on guard before carrying out the abduction. This was disclosed by Rev. Peter Uchu, the principal of St. Murumba College.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Presidency debunks Amnesty offer to Boko Haram
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Saturday May 31 2014, refuted claims by the Youth Minister, Boni Haruna, that the President had granted conditional amnesty to notorious terrorist sect, Boko Haram. Commenting on the president’s Democracy Day speech, from which Haruna apparently deduced that Amnesty was offered, Abati said that “amnesty” was never used.
He said that the President spoke about those who were willing to denounce terrorism and embrace peace, saying that opportunities have been created for them through the Presidential fact-finding committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflict in north-east Nigeria.
He added that the door remains opened for dialogue and reconciliation to terrorists who would denounce the act and embrace peace.
Obasanjo: President doubted Chibok kidnap for three weeks
Former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said in an interview on Saturday, 31 May 2014, that the President doubted the authenticity of the Chibok girls abduction for about three weeks, thereby withholding valuable decisions that could have seen them rescued.
The one-time military head of state further said that the president failed to swing into action after receiving briefings about the abduction, instead he had doubts. According to him, the president’s lethargic approach was the “Most unfortunate aspect of the whole issue”.
It would be recalled that the President first spoke publicly about the Chibok abduction in a media chat three weeks after the incident, precisely on May 4, 2014, after both local and international protests.