by Linda Ikeji
Today April 14 marks the 6th year since the abduction of the Chibok school girls by members of the Boko Haram sect.
The sect members stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state and abducted 276 of them. 57 of them managed to escape when the truck used to convey them broke down. In October 2016, 21 of the girls were freed; and in May 2017, another batch of 82 were released from captivity. 13 of the girls are presumed dead while 112 of the girls are still in captivity.
In a statement released by his media aide, Garba Shehu, President Buhari vowed never to forget the remaining girls as his government will do everything it can to ensure they are rescued alive.
On the specific issue of the freedom for the remaining girls held by the terrorists, the President noted the ongoing efforts on two fronts. He said the armed forces of the country who are on general operations in the entire region continue in their hope that they would encounter these girls, as they did thousands of other hostages, rescue and bring them back home. The President added that the nation’s security and intelligence community is reposed in rescuing the abducted girls is making a lot of efforts using backroom channels to get them back to their families.
The President added that the crisis within the leadership of the terrorist group has stalled the negotiations for the release of the girls.
“The issue of the Chibok girls is not a forgotten issue. We cannot go to sleep over this matter. We are optimistic that ongoing efforts will yield something positive.
Unfortunately, an ongoing crisis within the Boko Haram leadership, which has led to factions and breakaway groups, brought a number of unforeseen challenges to the process of negotiating with the militants for the young women’s release.
In the past few years, our armed forces have recorded huge successes in the battle against Boko Haram, but they have also been careful to ensure that as few civilian lives as possible were lost in the process. We would rather the young women still in captivity were freed alive” he said
President Buhari in his statement, acknowledged the progress being made by the freed ‘Chibok girls’, who were sponsored by his administration to study at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, saying that he is proud of what they are doing. He encouraged them to remain focused on their studies and on this unique opportunity that has been given to them by God, following their horrific time in captivity.
He also commended Yakubu Nkeki, Lawan Zannah and Yana Galang, the executive officials of the Association of the Parents of the Abducted Girls from Chibok, on their steadfast efforts to advocate for the welfare of the parents, the freed women, and those still in captivity.