Nigeria: Chibok Girls – Our Hope Is Waning – Parents

Hamza Idris, Romoke W. Ahmad and Christiana T. Alabi

Daily Trust [Nigeria]

Maiduguri, Abuja and Kaduna — It is 80 days today since the abduction of over 276 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, but parents as well as residents now seem reclined to the belief that they have been finally abandoned.

About 57 of the girls have since slipped away from their captors since they were seized on April 14 and re-united with their parents.

But distressed parents who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday said they have lost hope in the authorities to rescue the remaining 219 girls still being held by the Boko Haram group.

“I strongly believe that the Federal Government is yet to come to terms with the fact that our daughters have been abducted,” says Mr. James Yama, the father of one of the girls.

Mr. Yama, who lives in Mbalala, a few kilometers to Chibok, said his daughter, Jinkai, 19, was a rising star in the family before her abduction.

“We have been counting days in agony and it seems the count will not end. It is very sad that some people in Abuja are living happily with their children, oblivious of the pain we are going through here,” he said.

“As far as we are concerned, not an inch of progress has been achieved since the day our daughters were taken away…we haven’t seen anything tangible because no girl has been rescued, those who reunited with their families fled on their own. Personally, the abduction of my daughter and the events that followed demoralised my family. We no longer sleep in our houses; we no longer go to farms. My wife is now battling with blood pressure and we have to take her to hospital every week for medical attention. Even the clamour in the media has faded and we are left on our own. These days, you hardly hear anything ‘Chibok’ which signifies that our predicament has been overtaken by events,” James lamented.

Habu Balla, another resident of Mbalala, urged the federal authorities to eschew sentiment and help them.

“There are Muslims and Christians in Chibok and all the affected villages and therefore, the challenges confronting us should be seen beyond religious, tribal or ethnic lines. We are now living in fear in Mbalala because there is no security presence and as you are aware, most of the villages around have been attacked and destroyed by insurgents,” he said.

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