The 21 freed Chibok Girls have disclosed yesterday in Abuja that they stayed for “one month and 10 days’’ after their abduction by the Boko Haram insurgents without food.
In her testimony, the spokesperson of the released girls, Miss Gloria Dame, who recalled their ordeal in captivity, thanked God and all those who made their safe release and reunion with their families possible.
Miss Dame, who spoke in Hausa, prayed God to ensure the safe release of the other girls still in captivity.
“We never thought we will ever see this moment but God has made it possible for us. I want to appeal to all of us to fast and pray for the safe release of those left behind,” she said.
She added “For one month and 10 days we stayed without food. I narrowly escaped bomb blast in the forest.
“We are praying God to touch the heart of Boko Haram to repent and we are calling on Nigerians to pray and fast for the release of the remaining girls in captivity,’’ she said.
The atmosphere was electrified when parents of the freed girls arrived the venue of the thanksgiving and were reunited with their loved ones after over two years of their abduction.
The parents took turn to address the congregation and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians for their efforts and prayers towards the rescue of their daughters.
The chairman, Chibok local government council, Mr Yaga Yarakawa, said, the release of the girls was “historic’’ and the Chibok community at home and in the diaspora are happy about the development.
Yarakawa said contrary to views of some Nigerians, the 21 freed girls were the actual Chibok Secondary School girls kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents.
“Before their abduction, I was involved in supervising their feeding which was organised by the Borno State Secondary Schools Feeding System. So I know them very well.
“These are the real girls and you can see when their parents came, you see their joy, it manifest naturally.
“This is enough to tell you that it is a reality and anybody who say something different may have a different agenda altogether,’’ he said.
Yarakawa appealed to the government to put all necessary machinery in place to ensure the release of the other girls.
Speaking in same vein, Mr Yakubu Nkeki, the Chairman of Abducted Chibok Girls’ Parents Association, thanked the President for the release of the girls.
He said from the physical look of the girls, it was obvious that they were not radicalised as claimed by some people.
He also debunked the claim that many of the girls were pregnant.
FG appeals against comments capable of jeopardising release of remaining Chibok girls
The federal government has appealed to commentators and analysts to refrain from making statements that can jeopardize the release of the remaining Chibok girls who are still in captivity.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the appeal yesterday in Abuja at a special thanksgiving church service and reunion of the 21 girls with their families.
“There are many reckless analysts and commentators who are not helping the situation. We still have many of our children in captivity. Therefore, we have to be careful with the kind of comments that we make. We must not make comments that will make the release of these girls difficult or impossible,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said, those who doubted the sincerity and commitment of the present administration to the safe release and reunion of the abducted Chibok girls with their parents were “disappointed.”
“When the President said that the Boko Haram saga will not be closed until all the girls abducted are released and reunited with their families safely, those who doubted did not believe, so we thank God this day has come,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed appealed to the parents of the girls who are yet to be freed to continue to exercise patience, saying “this is the beginning and we are very optimistic that very soon, another batch bigger than this will be released. I want to assure you that these negotiations are ongoing even as we speak.”
The chairman of the Parents of the Abducted Chibok School Girls, Yakubu Nkeki, re-echoed the Minister’s plea by appealing to the people to stop spreading rumours, particularly on the social media, that will put the lives of the girls at risk.
He debunked some reports alleging that 18 out of the 21 free girls are pregnant even as he denied that the girls were radicalized by Boko Haram.
Mr Nkeki thanked President Buhari for summoning the courage and the political will that eventually led to the release of the abducted girls.
Dr Shiktra Kwali, who delivered the sermon at the thanksgiving service, told the girls that as they start a new life in freedom, they should not allow the experience of the past to weigh them down, and urged them to remain steadfast in serving the Lord, who has not forsaken them even in captivity.
Several ministers of God, including the President of the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), Reverend Joel Bilili, offered prayers for the girls.
The high-point of the occasion was reunion between the parents and their daughters.
Tears flowed freely as parents took turns to identify their daughters, while one woman simply carried her daughter on her back in happiness.
The ceremony ended with an identification parade, as each of the freed girls identified their parents who in turn made brief comments, with many of them praising President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring the safe release of the daughters.
Release Of Chibok Girls Outcome Of PMB’s Resilience – IBB
As reactions continue to trail the release of the 21 Chibok girls, Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has stated that the release of the 21 Chibok school girls was due to the resilience of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement by Mahmud Abdullahi from IBBs media office in Minna, yesterday, the former head of state rejoiced with the families, people of Nigeria and indeed the Nigerian government over the release of twenty-one of the abducted Chibok girls.
He said “It is a thing of joy for the girls to be reunited with their families after being taken away in such painful and abrupt manner for over two and half years.
“The release of the 21 girls signal a hope, after such moments of despair that the abduction of over 200 Schools girls brought to the family and the entire country as well as global community” he added.
General Babangida therefore stated that it was gratifying to see the release of 21 of the girls, after delicate negotiations with the Boko Haram saying that “It is an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is committed to ensuring safe release of the girls.”