Almost one year after over 200 secondary schoolgirls were abducted from their hostel in Chibok, Borno state by Boko Haram gunmen and their school set ablaze, members of the community and some of the distraught parents yesterday rejected attempts by the Federal Government to rebuild the burnt school insisting that all they wanted was to have their children back home.
Federal Government officials led by the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had last Thursday visited Chibok community, during which she laid the foundation stone of one of the schools being built by the government.
The school is being rebuilt under the Safe School Programme of the Ministry of Finance.
Some parents of the 219 abducted schoolgirls and concerned members of Chibok community, however, yesterday condemned the visit by the Federal Government delegation and the rebuilding of the school, insisting that what they wanted was for their daughters to be brought back home to them alive.
Addressing journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, which was attended by hundreds of Chibok people residents in Maiduguri, the Caretaker Chairman of Chibok Council Area, Mallam Ba’ana Lawan, accused the Federal Government of making failed promises of rescuing their 219 abducted schoolgirls.
He also expressed dismay over government’s move to rebuild Government Girls Secondary School, GGSS, Chibok which was destroyed by the insurgents after abducting the schoolgirls.
According to him, “It is disheartening to inform you that since the abduction of these girls, the Federal Government did not bother to send delegations to Chibok to sympathize with the parents, instead, the parents were invited to Abuja and conveyed in cargo military plane with no comfort whatsoever.
“We still observed that recently, President Goodluck Jonathan visited Mubi and Baga, but failed to visit Chibok to sympathize with our people.
“We also observed that the President and Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh had severally promised that these girls will soon be released, but it is now more than 300 days, and nothing has happened. We thank God and appreciate Governor Kashim Shettima and his wife, Nana Kashim Shettima who not only visited Chibok when the incident took place, but also secured admission to the 59 schoolgirls that escaped from the Book Haram to study in various schools in the country and all assistance he has rendered to the parents.
“It is most unfortunate that Chibok Local Government Area has witnessed six different attacks by insurgents and about 300 people lost their lives with property worth millions of naira destroyed, hundreds of houses razed down as well as food and cash crops looted. The most recent attacks being that of Gatamwarwa, Kautikari and other surrounding villages where several lives were equally lost. Yet there was no response from the Federal Government.
“We therefore condemn the move by the Federal Government to embark on the reconstruction of the school (GGSS Chibok) instead of bringing back our girls as severally promised”.
Lawan, however, appreciated the persistent efforts of the ‘#BRING BACK OUR GIRLS’ advocacy group in Abuja, which has been mounting pressure on the Federal Government to intensify efforts in rescuing the innocent girls as well as the media in their consistent effort to ensure that the case of the abducted girls was constantly in the news.