■ Mum in shock, falls sick
■ Community leaders say Maida, others under duress
From TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU, Maiduguri
Maida Yakubu, the girl who spoke defiantly cuddling an assault rifle in a recent video released by Boko Haram and vowing not to return home was among the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the insurgents at a government school in Chibok town, Borno State on April 14, 2014.
Maida was about 14 years old when she was kidnapped with other girls, sources said. Those who knew her years back in her neighborhood at Chibok said she was dutiful, very shy and hardly participated in long discussions among her peers at school except with her parents and siblings whenever she returned from school. But all these appeared to have disappeared from her psyche in last Saturday’s video released by Boko Haram as she held an assault rifle declaring her preference to stay with Boko Haram.
Unlike the 82 others who were released through negotiation with the insurgents on May 6, Maida with three other Chibok girls in the video vowed never to return home, claiming to have found love with the Boko Haram evil cause.
“We don’t want to return to our parents,” the four girls in black veils declared in Hausa in the video after they were introduced by a Boko Haram functionary as the Chibok girls that refused to return home. When asked by the Boko Haram man coordinating what appeared like an interview session in the video, Maida who was christened Dorcas said “Our parents are not doing the wish of Allah and we want them to follow us. We don’t want to go back,” while urging her parents to convert to Islam. This came barely two weeks after she and other kidnapped Chibok girls in another video obviously recorded by Boko Haram, begged for their release. The sudden change of Maida’s position and her appearance with an AK 47, Sunday Sun gathered, shocked her mum as she fell sick.
“Maida’s mum is in shock over that video. She is worried like most of us, because Maida was an introvert of sorts. We were surprised to see her talking defiantly and even holding an AK 47 in the video. That was not the Maida we knew; these people (Boko Haram) have charmed her,” said one community leader who didn’t want his name mentioned in the report. The source said relations and family friends of Mr and Mrs Yakubu have resorted to prayers since the release of the video last weekend.
However, Mrs Esther Yakubu, Maida’s mum told Sunday Sun on phone that she hasn’t watched the video. “I haven’t watched the video. I am just hearing about it from people and I can’t say anything until I have watched it. Unfortunately, I am not feeling well now.” She would not also oblige our request to speak on her feeling, maintaining “I am not feeling okay” and hung up.
Maina Chibok who equally expressed worry about the development maintained the girls appeared in the video under duress. “The feeling among our people in Chibok is that the girls in that video were under duress. They’ve said few weeks ago they wanted to be released. They even begged government to secure their release so why would these four now turn back to say they don’t want to go back home?Our daughters have been under certain influence,” he reiterated.
Some residents of Maiduguri urged government not to give up until the remaining girls are rescued. “We should not lose hope, these girls will still change and want to return home. They are just being deceived by the insurgents anti-Islam teaching and have probably been cajoled with gifts,” Abdulraham Mustapha, an Islamic scholar said.