- Sect fumes over video leak, accuses govt of insincerity
- Reps to commiserate with Chibok girls’ parents
After two years of abduction of over 200 school girls at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, near Maduguri, Borno State, by the Boko Haram insurgents, the Senate yesterday summoned the National Security Adviser, NSA, and other security chiefs to appear before it in a closed session to brief it on efforts towards recovering the girls.
It asked the All Progressives Congress, APC-led federal government to fulfil its campaign promise by taking urgent steps to ensure the release of the abducted girls.
The Senate, while commending the Bring Back Our Girls group for their doggedness in the campaign for the release of the Chibok girls, also urged the government to rebuild the Chibok secondary school to alleviate the suffering of the students resident in the community.
Presenting a motion, Sen. Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) noted that beside the propanganda videos created by the Islamist militant group, none of those girls had been seen since their abduction.
He lamented that beside the fact that some of the girls were yet to be rescued, the school where they were abducted was still unattended to.
According to him, the abduction of the girls has greatly affected the image of the country in the international community.
“It is a harrowing feeling knowing that these girls are still under the mercy of such a violent group.
“I can only imagine the state of mind of the parents, guardians and relatives of the missing girls.
“I am concerned that the abduction has become a myth and their whereabouts an enigma.
“These girls have dreams and aspirations and in the eyes of God and the laws of man, they have every right to pursue such dreams. We cannot succeed as a government until those girls are released,” he said.
Sen Melaye also stated that getting back the over 200 Chibok girls into the society was important and a must for the security agencies.
Speaking, deputy Senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary blamed the incidence on the poor policing of the country and urged the government to ensure the release of the girls.
“I thank the international community for their concern. It appears to me that not much is being done and it is regretable. I urge the government to ensure the fulfilment of the campaign promise by bringing back the girls. Insufficient policing of our country is worrisome; we must begin to think about doing something regarding our policing system. Until we do something about the nature of policing we have here in Nigeria, this Chibok incidence might repeat elsewhere in the country,” Sen. Ekweremadu warned.
Sect Furious over Video Leak
Meanwhile, credible sources are said to have informed TheCable that Boko Haram leaders were angry over the leak of the video of 15 Chibok girls to the media.
The video obtained by the CNN was reported to have been seen by negotiators and government officials.
The American news network then showed the clip to some of the Chibok parents ahead of the second anniversary of the kidnappings on Thursday.
In the video, apparently recorded in December 2015, the girls, who said they were speaking on behalf of their colleagues, expressed the desire to be reunited with their families.
However, security sources told TheCable that Boko Haram leaders are said to be “livid” over the media leak which they consider as “treachery,” because “it was never intended for broadcast.”
They are reportedly accusing the government of “cheating” because the video was only recorded as “proof of life” for the negotiators.
“They think the government and the media are not genuinely interested in the girls’ freedom,” one of the security sources told TheCable.
There are strong suspicions in intelligence circles that the girls have been divided into different groups among different Boko Haram factions – and the latest video is proof that they are probably in batches of 15 or less.
It is thought that with the latest video, one group is only trying to negotiate using the girls in its care, and may not be able to negotiate for the other girls being held by other groups.
Federal government officials are sceptical about negotiating with splinter groups to avoid the billion-naira industry that was created around it under the past administration.
Pictures of five of the girls were reportedly shown to government officials by negotiators in January 2016 by another group of negotiators.
It would be recalled that a new video made public by the CNN Wednesday night showed the schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok two years ago as still “alive” and looking well taken care of.
CNN said it obtained the video which had been sent to negotiators by their captors as a “proof of life.”
It also said the video had been seen by negotiators and some government officials, but has now been shown the parents.
It reported that Rifkatu Ayuba caught sight of her long-lost, desperately missed, now 17-year-old daughter, Saratu, and screamed: “My Saratu!”
Saratu is one of 15 girls seen in the recording shown to some of the families for the first time at an emotional meeting this week.
Wearing a purple abaya, with a patterned brown scarf covering her hair, Saratu stared directly into the camera.
“I felt like removing her from the screen,” Ayuba told CNN. “If I could, I would have removed her from the screen.”
The video is believed to have been made last December as part of negotiations between the government and Boko Haram.
As the camera focused on each of the girls, a man behind the camera fired off questions: “What’s your name? Was that your name at school? Where were you taken from?”
One by one, each girl calmly stated her name and explained that she was taken from Chibok Government Secondary School, according to the report.
Reps to commiserate with girls’ parents
In another vein, House of Representatives yesterday unanimously agreed to send a high powered delegation to Chibok to commiserate with the parents of the schoolgirls abducted on April 14, 2014, as a way of marking their two years in captivity.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on matters of urgent national importance titled ‘Need to Intensify Search and Rescue of Abducted Schoolgirls on the Occasion of Two Years Anniversary’ sponsored by Hon. Asabe Bashir.
In her argument, Bashir expressed concern about the plight of the kidnapped girls and the agony their parents go through each day.
Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje said the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, group deserved commendation for being in the forefront for the release of the abducted girls.
She called in the terrorist group to release the girls unconditionally and not to subject them to further pains and agony.
In her contribution, Hon Aishatu Dukku said it was two years now since the girls were abducted, adding that the fight towards rescuing them must be sustained.
On her part, Hon. Onyemaechi Mrakpor described the abduction of the schoolgirls and government inability to rescue them two years after as an insult to the Nigerian nation, saying it was a challenge to the federal government to make good its promise.
Hon Johnson Agbonayinman called on all Nigerians to come together to fight the sect, stressing that those behind the abduction were enemy of the country.
In its resolution, the House urged the military to intensify the search towards rescuing the girls.
Meanwhile, speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara has charged the presidency to give clear deadline to security agencies to return the missing Chibok girls to their families.
The speaker said it had become necessary in light of how long it had taken to rescue the girls.
The speaker made the call during debate on a motion on the missing Chibok schoolgirls two years after their abduction from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents.
He said: “I sincerely believe that from contributions on the floor, that time has come as an institution of government, that the executive sets targets for the security forces so as to ensure that we do not lose the sense of urgency that this great tragic incident, which has been described here as a national shame, has brought upon this country.
“We must insist as an institution that targets are set so that we don’t lose the sense of urgency in our efforts to ensure that the girls are rescued and brought back to the warm and loving embrace of their families.”