Chibok parents hit back at claims that their daughters face ‘stigma’
In the second major report from Chibok, Hassan John interviews parents of the abducted schoolgirls
“We are Christians and no-one in Chibok will stigmatize the abducted girls,” claimed relatives of the girls in response to suggestions by government officials that the girls could be rejected by their parents.
“It is ridiculous for anyone to be in the comfort of their home and make assumptions that our girls and daughters, who were abducted from their school in Chibok or our communities, not out of any fault of their own, will be stigmatized because they were forced into a marriage with Boko Haram terrorists,” said Lawan Zanna, the secretary of the Parent’s Association of the abducted Chibok girls in an interview with Global Christian News.
My daughter has been abducted and she is still with Boko Haram. I have cried and prayed. Family members and the whole village community is praying, hoping and looking forward to their release. It is ridiculous for anyone to suggest that anyone in this community will reject or stigmatize any of the girls. I am a Muslim. We meet with our Christian brothers and sister all for the same cause. We want to have our daughters back home. Please in your churches, continue to pray for us,” she said.
The Chairman of the Christian association of Nigeria in Chibok, Pastor Philip Madu said, “The testimony of our faith as christians, who love Jesus and who are guided by Him is that we love all who have been abducted by Boko Haram. Jesus says we love sinners and our enemies, talk less of our own daughters who were abducted by those who hate Jesus. We can never discriminate or stigmatize those God loves. He saved them and brought them back. That is even a great reason why we will love them. All in Chibok, we are of the same mind. We will show the love of Christ to anyone abducted by Boko Haram.” He said.
Zainab Malla, a Muslim in Chibok, whose daughter is still in captivity with Boko Haram, said, “even if they have spent 20 years with Boko Haram, we will love them, we want our girls, we love them, we will never castigate or stigmatize them.” We are a loving community. Others may have their bias or feelings but all this is the talk of people who think they know, we here in Chibok this is our reality. The girls know we love them,” she added
“As the secretary of this association, let me state categorically that the ‘Bring Back our Girls’ campaigners have helped in raising awareness and we thank them very well. However, we have never received any money or funds from them or any organisation. We equally thank the Chibok indigenes in Abuja for the campaigns and awareness. We have never, also received anything from them.”
He added: “The government has assisted with material things and we thank them. But no parent has been given any money for anything regarding these girls.”
Global Christian News spoke with Mary Ishaya, whose daughter Hauwa Ishaya has been released. “We thank people who have been praying for us and we thank those that have assisted in many ways. We thank those who have put pressure on government to ensure that that these girls have been released.”
Zainab Malla, the mother of five children was distraught about the loss of her second born daughter among four boys, who was 18 at the time of the abduction and has not yet been released. She said they have never lost hope, especially when the first girl, Amina, escaped from captivity, and they have prayed for the release of her daughter.
“I am happy for the families of those whose daughters have been released,” she said, trying unsuccessfully to hide her own pains, “we still pray that the rest of the girls will be released by Boko Haram and sent home.”
She said in her rare interview with Global Christian News in Chibok, that not knowing the fate of state of her daughter dominates her entire life. She is unable to go to Abuja, with the other parents and will not be able to talk to any of the released girls to find out if her daughter is alive.
It is impossible for her to face reports that some of the girls were victims of air strikes by the Nigerian air force, according to claims by Boko Haram. She insisted: “We believe our daughters are alive and we are looking forward to all of them coming back home.”.