President Muhammadu Buhari has raised hope on abducted schoolgirls as he vowed that his administration would not rest until the last of them was freed and reunited with their family.
The president said this in a series of tweets, via his Twiter handle: @MBuhari, at 10:09am, yesterday, to commemorate the fifth year since the girls were abducted from Chibok community in Borno state.
Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from Chibok in April 2014. Only107 of them have are back and reunited with their families.
The president said he was pleased to see the progress being made by the girls rescued from the insurgents
He also noted that the security agencies “have successfully rescued thousands of captives, and they will not relent until every captive is free.”
“Today marks five years since the abduction of our Chibok daughters. We have succeeded in bringing back 107 of them, but we will not rest until all the remaining girls are back and reunited with their families. I made this promise when I became President, and I will keep it,” Buhari tweeted.
“We will never give up on our missing daughters, including Leah Sharibu; and all the other people held hostage by Boko Haram. In the last four years our security agencies have successfully rescued thousands of captives, and they will not relent until every captive is free.
“It gladdens our hearts to see the progress being made by the young women rescued from Boko Haram. We celebrate their courage and determination to defy the evil ideology of the terrorists, by continuing to pursue their education. There is no doubt that the world is inspired by them.
“I extend our best wishes to all the Chibok girls in various schools in Nigeria and around the world. Special congratulations to Kauna Yaga Bitrus, who has excelled in her college in Maine, USA, and will, very soon, be receiving an ‘Against All Odds Award’ from her school.”
As the world marked the fifth anniversary, activists under the aegis of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) have called for the rescue of 112 remaining girls out of the 276 schoolgirls abducted five years ago.
They are also demanding rescue of two others: Leah Sharibu, the Christian girl Boko Haram refused to release as part of the Dapchi abduction in 2018 and Alice Ngaddah, a UNICEF worker.
At the fifth anniversay lecture in Abuja, yesterday, Yemi Adamolekun, member of the movement, said events to mark the day held across the county and in New York, the United States of America.
Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and forced about two million to flee their homes since it began an insurgency in 2009; aimed at creating an Islamic state in the North East.
Buhari made crushing Boko Haram a pillar of his 2015 election campaign and he has vowed to spare no effort in ensuring all abducted Nigerians are freed.
In a related development, a Borno-based humanitarian organisation, Jire Dole Network of Victims and Relations of the Conflict in North East Nigeria has revealed how the Islamist insurgent group started abduction of girls, women and conducted forceful marriages.
The group which has been working on the rights of victims and relations of persons affected by insurgency in Borno recalled in Maiduguri at a ceremony marking the five years remembrance of Chibok schoolgirls abduction that Boko Haram started its kidnap activity in late 2011.
Head of the network, Hajiya Hamsatu Allamin said insurgents took away some girls and women at a community at the outskirts of Maiduguri and threw monies to their parents as dowry for the forceful marriages.
“This ugly situation came to towards the end of 2011, at the peak of the insurgency when a portion of Maiduguri-Ngarannam ward at the outskirts of Maiduguri was secluded to be an abode of the extremist group, young women and girls were targeted and taken away from their homes at night (with N2,000-N5,000 thrown to their parents as dowry),” Allamin said.
She said the group conducted various researches with many victims and relations of the girls and women giving information about the series of abductions which preceded the kidnap of Chibok schoolgirls.
“Residents of Maiduguri call it “Auren Markas” (Markas marriage). Markas was the destroyed house of the leader of the insurgents group, Mohammed Yusuf, birthplace and headquarters of Boko Haram in Maiduguri
She said the network has some witnesses that testified that abduction and forceful marriages took place at Umarari, Bulabulin Ngarannam, Kaleri and Zajiri wards in Maiduguri though the newspaper cannot immediately verified the claims.
She claimed Boko Haram also abducted some girls and women at Monguno, Marte and around Konduga, Bama and Gwoza in 2013. She said the mass abduction of girls and women was Boko Haram response to clampdown on the insurgents wives in the heat of the violence as claimed in one of the group’s videos in 2012.
She appealed to the Federal Government to investigate some of these abductions and intensify efforts at securing the release of the remaining 112 Chibok girls in Boko Haram custody.