Desperate parents demand report of Jonathan’s fact-finding c’ttee
United Nation on Friday cast doubt on the likelihood of rescuing the 219 Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted two years ago, despite alleged recent video evidence of their existence supposedly forwarded to the CNN by the leadership of Boko Haram.
In the same vein, desperate parents of the abducted girls have demanded release of the report of the Jonathan administration’s fact-finding committee from the federal government, noting that it would reveal a lot to the public.
The UN, which released its statement yesterday, said no fewer than 7,000 women and girls might be living in abduction and as sex slavery, stressing that the plight of the abducted was a major conflict affecting the North-Eastern communities.
Though the UN acknowledged the efforts of the federal government to curb insurgency, it however said more needs to be done to rescue the girls as well as to keep vulnerable women and children safe from the horrors other women and girls have endured.
“Safe schools are a good start, but safe roads and safe homes are also needed”, it says.
Fatma Samoura, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria added: “Humanitarian agencies are concerned that two years have passed and still the fate of the Chibok girls and the many, many other abductees is unknown,” she said.
The statement quoted
Further, Samoura said that the abducted girls had suffered so much at the hands of their captors as they had been on forced recruitment, forced marriage, sexual slavery and rape, and have been used to carry bombs.
“Between 2,000 and 7,000 women and girls are living in abduction and sex slavery,” said Jean Gough, Country Representative of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
Women and girls, who have escaped Boko Haram have reported undergoing a systematic training programme to train them as bombers, according to UNICEF.
It said that 85 per cent of the suicide attacks by women globally in 2014 were in Nigeria and strongly suspects that majority of the female suicide bombers in recent times are likely the abducted Chibok school girls.
The UN further disclosed that in May 2015, it was reported that children had been used to perpetrate three-quarters of all suicide attacks in Nigeria since 2014, stating that many of the bombers may have been brainwashed or coerced to do so.
A UNICEF report, released earlier this week, states that 1.3 million children have been displaced by the conflict across the Lake Chad Basin, almost a million are in Nigeria.
Similarly, Human Rights Watch House reported that 1 million children had lost access to education.
“The abducted Chibok girls have become a symbol for every girl that has gone missing at the hands of Boko Haram, and every girl who insists on practicing her right to education,” said Munir Safieldin, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria.
Meanwhile, parents of the abducted Chibok girls are unconvinced that the present efforts of the federal government have yielded the desired dividends. The parents gave this indication on Thursday when a federal government representative paid them a consolation visit.
The parents, who wailed uncontrollably, said the visit was adding salt to their wounds, rekindles festering emotional pains and their despondency.
Rather than assuage their wounds, they said the visit simply reminded them of memories of their daughters and their desperation to reunite with their children stolen by Boko Haram insurgents two years ago during a midnight attack on the school hostel.
The Parents, who cried at the top of their voices and wore depressed faces when the delegation comprising three ministers and some senators along with the Borno State governor and others, went both philosophical and poetic in an emotion laden-speech read before the visitors.
Leader of the group, Yakubu K.K, expressed how much they miss their daughters which made everyone present to shade tears but was also optimistic of their return.
“We don’t know whether you are dead or alive, whether you have eaten or not, whether you are forced to do things you wouldn’t want to do or not but we miss you and pray for you” the note said as parents cried in high voices.
Also, they said that the release of the fact-finding committee of the last administration was crucial and wondered why the present administration was silent on the report.
“We are worried over the federal government’s dead silence on the report of the Presidential fact-finding committee set up by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to establish facts surrounding the abduction of our children. We demand that the findings established from the investigation by the committee be made public so that we will know if anyone has questions to answer,” Yakubu said.
The committee, made up of mostly members selected by President Jonathan had submitted its report in 2014 but the then Presidency didn’t make the report public.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, Minister of Environment and leader of the federal government’s delegation, Hajia Amina Mohammed, Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, a female Minister from Kaduna State, a founding member of the Bring Back Our Girls Group and now Presidential Adviser on Social Protection, Mrs Maryam Uwais, another founding member of the BBOG, Hadiza Bala Usman, Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, Senator Binta Mashi from Adamawa State and officials from Borno government were at Chibok to meet the parents.
Governor Kashim Shettima said his administration shares the pains of the Chibok parents and was working hard with the federal government for the release of the abducted schoolgirls.
“We now have President Muhammadu Buhari, someone with very strong commitment to finding your daughters and ours. We are jointly working very hard and we won’t stop until they are reunited with you. I have daughters, I know exactly how you feel” Shettima told the parents.