Inside Chibok: Parents rejoice as they greet their newly-released daughters
The first in a series of special reports from Chibok by by Hassan John
Parents of 82 school girls released by the Islamic Terrorist Jihadist group, Boko Haram, abducted since April 2014 in Chibok saw their daughters for the first time last Friday after three years apart.
When Global Christian News caught up with some of the parents on Wednesday in Chibok, their excitement was palpable.
Pulo Adamu, mother of seven, whose daughter, Naomi was among the 82 girls released could not contain her joy: “I am so so happy. I thank God for what he has done. He has not left us or let us down through these years.”
Grace Ayuba, the younger sister to Saratu Ayuba recently release by Boko Haram said, her parents had been in sorrow and pains since the abduction. The home has never been the same. But now they are so excited: “We will do anything for Saratu. We want her home. We want our sister back.”
She said. “despite the abduction, I was able to go to school and I have finished my secondary school now, waiting to go to a university whenever it is possible.” Grace said.
Even parents whose daughter were not among those released like Galan Pogu, 65 welcomed the news: “We thank you all, people all over the world who have prayed with us. We are excited and we thank you. You all stood by us in prayers. Thank you.”
He added: “My daughter, Rifkatu, has not yet been released. But I am happy for those whose daughters have been released and I am hoping and praying mine will be released. Those that have been released have said they are well. We have not been given the opportunity to talk to them and find out about our daughters. But we are hoping they too will be released,” Pogu said.
The frustration for the parents whose daughters have returned is their inability to find out any information. The government will only allow selected people to talk to the girls. The media has been shut out and parents have been restricted and monitored in their contact with their own daughters. The myth surrounding the contacts also has given rise to speculation of a government cover-up.
“The government is hiding something and the girls are coached on what to say to their parents, from all indications,” said one observer who preferred to remain anonymous.
But Pulo who was one of the first to receive news of her daughter’s release was not in a mood to complain: “They sent pictures from Abuja for us to identify our daughters. When I saw Naomi, I was overwhelmed. I am so happy. God has not abandoned her. She could have been one of those killed or anything could have happened but she is alive and I will see her. God! I thank you” she said with excitement. “I have cried many days and have worried and wondered but today God has given me joy.”
Sadly, about 20 of the parents, whose daughter were abducted have died, “due to the ailments related to the pains they go through daily as a result of the loss of their daughters from the abduction,” said Pastor Philip Madu.
“People have given up hope that the girls have all been killed. Others will tell us the girls must have been killed by diseases like HIV Aids or killed because they were mostly Christians. But we held onto our faith and we kept praying.” Adamu, an uncle to one of the abducted girls told Global Christian News.
Pastor Philip Madu, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Chibok said, “We meet every Wednesday here (he pointed to a large space under a tree where women and children were seated peeling groundnuts) to pray for the girls. We never gave up hope in God.”
He said “Right from the early months when the girls were abducted, we asked God that even if it is one girls that comes out to tell us what happened that night and what has become of the rest of our girls, we will be grateful. But God has done His miracle. At first it was those girls who escaped. We were excited, then 21 girls were released and we danced and sang and praised God. Today we have 82. You can imagine our joy. We are looking forward to having the remaining 113 back,” he added.
Global Christian News was in Abuja, Friday, where the parents of the abducted girls met with the girls for the first time in three years. It was tears of joy and songs of praises as the long lost girls embraced their families. The security at the venue was tight as press had no access to the girls. Only some of the parents could speak to the press after meeting their daughters.