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Chibok communities, parents fault Okonjo-Iweala’s visit



MEMBERS of the Chibok communities and parents of abducted schoolgirls in Borno State Monday faulted the visit of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to Chibok town last Thursday without inviting any official of State’s Ministry of Education, communities and council leaders.

  The communities and parents yesterday described the Minister’s visit as “disrespectful and betraying” the entire people of Chibok over the abduction and non-release of affected schoolgirls, since Boko Haram kidnapped them on Monday, April 14, 2015.

  Addressing a news conference Monday at the State Hotel, Maiduguri Aimu Foni of the Borno State House of Assembly (BOHA), representing Chibok constituency said the Federal Government did not bother to send any delegations: whether high powered or otherwise to Chibok to sympathise with parents in the aftermath of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls.

  Foni continued: “Instead, the aggrieved and traumatized parents were invited to Abuja and conveyed in a cargo military plane without any comfort whatsoever, despite their predicaments, grieves and traumas over the abduction of their children and wards last April.

“The affected parents and guardians, including the entire Chibok community leaders, are here before you to state without any ambiguity or politicization of abduction of our schoolgirls.”

 Foni said, “First, we observed that recently President Goodluck Jonathan visited Mubi and Baga, but failed to visit the affected parents to sympathize with our people. We also observe that the President and Chief of Defense Staff, have severally promised that these abducted girls will soon be released but to no avail; and up to the time of holding this news conference in the prolonged captivities of our school girls.”

   The legislator however, added: “We want you to note that the people of Chibok are peace loving and have always wanted peace to reign; despite the abduction of 219 of our girls while writing their examinations at Government Girls Secondary School.”

   While appreciating the visit of Governor Kashim Shettima to Chibok, Foni said: “The governor and his wife, Hajiya Nana Kashim visited Chibok to sympathize with parents of the missing girls. We noted the efforts of His Excellency in securing admissions for the 59 school girls that escaped from Boko Haram captivity to study in various schools in the country and all other assistance he had rendered to affected parents and guardians.”

   On the delays in the girls’ release, he said: “For reasons best known to the Federal Government, instead of bringing back our abducted girls; as severally promised, they decided to embark on the reconstruction of destroyed school. We therefore condemn in strong terms this unwarranted action of the Federal Government. The Chibok people rather want their daughters back.”

   Speaking on Chibok recent attacks, he said: “Our communities have witnessed six different attacks by Boko Haram and over about 300 people lost their lives and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed. Hundreds of houses burnt as well as food and cash crops were looted. The recent attacks were of Gatamwarwa and surrounding villages where several lives were also lost. Yet; there was no response from the Federal Government.”

   Chibok women, including parents of abducted girls also yesterday chanted: “Let the President bring back our abducted schoolgirls,” stressing that the abducted girls be immediately and unconditionally released from insurgents’ captivity.

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