Just a day before the world marks the second year anniversary of the abduction of 276 girls kidnapped from the Chibok Secondary School in Borno State on 14th April 2014, global news channel, CNN has published a video showing the girls alive.
The video is said to have been recorded by terrorist group, Boko Haram, on 25th December 2015 and was presumably sent to government negotiators as a “proof of life.”
In the video, 15 girls face the camera with their backs to a yellow wall, wearing dark flowing robes. They individually state their names their school and where they are from,in response to questions from a voice behind the camera.
They show no obvious signs of maltreatment and do not look starved. But exhibit some fear and hesitation.
As the camera focuses on each of them, a man behind the camera whose voice CNN identifies as that of Boko Haram spokesman, Abu Zainara, asks: “What’s your name? Was that your name at school? Where were you taken from?”
At the end of the two minute clip, one of the girls, Naomi Zakaria, makes a final and apparently scripted appeal to the federal government to help reunite the girls with their families.
“I am speaking on 25th December 2015, on behalf of all the Chibok girls and we are all well,” she said.
The video was obtained by CNN who played it to the mothers of several of the missing girls.
In heartbreaking scenes, the women can be seen collapsing in tears as they recognise all of the pupils lined up in the recording.
For some, their daughters were pictured. For others, their girls were not seen.
Huhuonline.com gathered that one Rifkatu Ayuba is one of the mothers whose 17-year-old was shown in the clip.
Upon seeing her, she wails 'My Saratu!' as she reaches desperately to grab a hold of the computer.
Nigerian militants took 276 girls, mostly Christian, from their dormitory at Chibok Government Secondary School in their April 14, 2014, night raid.
The were stolen from their beds at gun point.Only a small dozen managed to escape, recounting the horrors of the kidnap to their families and the authorities.
Those taken have never been seen since, with no solid indication as to their whereabouts having yet been established.
Huhuonline.com gathered that some officials of the federal government have seen the video.
Nigeria’s information minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was interviewed by CNN confirmed that there were ongoing talks with people who claimed to have leads on where the girls were being kept but could not confirm if the government was negotiating with the terrorists.
The parents have appealed to the government to do all it can to ensure the release of the girls.
According to CNN, the video was released by someone keen to give the girls’ parents hope that some of their daughters are still alive, and to motivate the government to help release them.
Chibok Girls Constantly On Buhari’s Mind – Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday cautioned against cynicism and hopelessness about the recovery of the 276 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram.
According to him, their recovery is uppermost in the mind of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He gave the assurance at a one-day Roundtable on Vulnerable People in Insurgency and other conflicts in Nigeria, organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
“At any security council meeting that I have attended, the President in particular has always been concerned about the question of Chibok girls in particular," he said.
"Of course it comes out of ensuring that apart from the international importance attached to it, he reflects on the abduction as if any of the girls is one of his own."
Describing as significant the day set aside to mark the anniversary of the abduction of 217 Chibok girls in Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists, Vice President Osinbajo said: “It brings to the fore some critical issues on the handling of the plight of vulnerable people notably the abduction of Chibok girls and the killings of Buni Yadi boys as well as the recent kidnap of three girls in Ikorodu, Lagos in a non-confict area”.
Osinbajo expressed government’s appreciation to local NGOs, CSOs and international partners and sought their continued collaboration and assistance in further addressing issues around the wellbeing of victims and the task of rebuilding the North East areas affected by insurgency.
“Interconnectivity of many issues like poverty, corruption and lack of education exposes the fact of vulnerability especially of women and girls in our society," he said.
"Poverty generally exposes state system and institutions of state and make it impossible to solve most problems without addressing the fundamental questions first.
“There is a sense in which we must pay attention to how we design government programmes, how we plan budgets, so that we take into account the great poverty of our people."
He said that is why the Federal Government voted N500 billion in this year’s budget for five different social intervention programmes including conditional cash transfer to the poorest.
Osinbajo added that the present level of systemic corruption in the country has made it difficult to deliver service to the people because funds meant for infrastructure and social upliftment of the people are diverted.
“I believe we must deal with corruption, it is at the heart of what has gone wrong in this society. We must deal with not only individuals, but with corruption in a systemic fashion," he said.
At the Roundtable, one of the female survivors of the Buni Yadi attack in Yobe State, Fatima Alhassan, also spoke about what happened the day Boko Haram attacked the school.
In his own speech, the National Security Adviser Maj.-Gen. Babagana Moguno Noted that the government is committed to locating the whereabouts of the Chibok girls with a view to rescuing them.
He said the issue has been at the top of the agenda during national council meetings.
"Moreover, the security agencies have stepped up their search and rescue activities. For instance, in the last one month over 3000 hostages have been rescued by the armed forces in their counter-insurgency operations in the North East,” he said.
Others at the event include Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd), the Executive Secretary, Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd), representatives of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Chief of Army Staff (COAS), and Ambassadors of US, UK and France among others.
Minister of the Environment and Moderator of the programme, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, said: “It will never be enough until the girls come back. As a mother of four, I am hopeful that the girls will be rescued.”
The NSA added that the purpose of the roundtable was to discuss the plight of the most vulnerable citizens, devise preventive measures to avoid conflicts and find ways to mitigate the suffering of victims during and after conflicts.
Monguno was represented by the Special Adviser on Economic Intelligence (ONSA), Mr. Remi Oyewunmi, who added: “No other issue in Nigeria’s recent history has exposed the country to the international spotlight as the abduction of the Chibok girls, prompting righteous indignation across the world”.
He said there is massive increase in the use of children as suicide bombers by the Boko Haram terrorists.
“Like the rest of the world, the most vulnerable people during conflicts in Nigeria are usually women and children as exemplified by their preponderance among the teeming mass of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), particularly in the North East, victimes of the Boko Haram insurgency. According to reports by security agencies, there has been an increase in the use of children as suicide bombers.”