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‘I felt happy when I saw my kids’


A reunited family

A reunited family

IT was an emotional ceremony at the banquet Hall of the Edo government house last Sunday evening as 142 children, who are victims of Boko Haram activities in parts of north eastern Nigeria taking refuge in a facility run by the International Christian Centre in Uhogwa, Ovia North East Local Council of Edo State were re-united with their parents, 55 in number.

But out of the 142, 112 returned to their bases with 49 parents while the remaining would return to the camp as their parents, six in number only came to see the wellbeing of their children since they are yet to rebuild their destroyed homes or have new places to stay.

The governor treated them to lunch accompanied by senior government officials some who personally served the children and gave them gifts and transportation arrangement for their return journey.

The governor, who expressed confidence in the Buhari-led administration to tackle the Boko Haram menace, urged Nigerians to be their brothers keepers irrespective of tribe, religion or creed and praised the Red Cross for linking the families in the various camps.

One of the parents, Ali Yakubu from Gwoza Local Council of Borno State, who has four children at the camp, said he was lucky to be alive and to see his children adding that he lost all his siblings to Boko Haram.

Justina Ali, a victim, thanked Governor Oshiomhole and the administrator of the facility, Pastor Solomon Folunrunsho for taking care of them at the camp.

Lukas Saidu also thanked the ‎governor for making Edo a home for the displaced persons and commended the governor for championing what he described as a true spirit of one Nigeria.

Solomon Henry, a parent, also from Gwoza, said: “We feel exited, myself and my two children. I felt happy when I saw them because the state has been taking good care of them and I am very about that.”

Solomon said: “49 parents and 112 children are going with their parents; the other six just came to see their children because they themselves don’t have a place to stay. I feel very great. One, that the children have never been in this kind of environment, two, that they see the governor as their father and they see a place called home for them. The state has been a good place for them and for me, I am happy that we are all showing love to them.”

Oshiomhole in his remark said: “We must thank the Red Cross. They have done a lot of work. Having identified the children, they tried to locate their parents in various camps in the north. As a result, they have been able to reconnect the parents to the children and these parents have come, 55 of them, they have identified their children, about 140 of them to see their children and for some to go back with them.”

“As they say, there is no place like home and the worth of a mother and a father cannot be replaced by any humanitarian gesture, we appreciate this reality and so regardless of whatever comfort any one in Edo State would want to give to these children, it cannot be a substitute for motherly care particularly when you see children who are just two, three, five years old. They need the comfort of their parents and we thank God that whatever has separated the parents from the children, today God has helped us to reunite them. Thanks to President Buhari. These people are returning home happy, not that the war is over, but there is reasonable comfort and sense of security to return back to their places of origin.”

He noted: “We still have about 800 plus in the camp, those will remain part and parcel of the Edo community and Edo State government will continue to provide for their needs, not just in terms of food, but also education, we want to make sure these children don’t suffer loss of opportunity for education which is necessary for their future upward mobility.”

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