This is what happened when the Yobe schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram, returned home.
As buses ferrying some of the 94 schoolgirls abducted from Dapchi, waltzed into Yobe State on February 21, 2018, a song and dance broke out on the streets of Gaidam town.
On Monday, February 19, 2018, terrorists scavenging for food and money, stormed the Government Girls Science Technical College hostel; as students and teachers scampered into the surrounding bushes.
The terrorists sauntered into Dapchi, firing guns and letting off explosives. Eyewitnesses say soldiers backed by military jets, initially repelled them.
Initial reports suggested that close to a hundred students had gone missing following a head count conducted in the aftermath of the terrorist raid.
On Wednesday, February 21, an apprehensive nation began to come to terms with the fact that a new set of schoolgirls had been kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists; just four years after a similar incident befell Chibok community in Borno State.
Former Nigeria minister Obiageli Ezekwesili who has led the advocacy to rescue the Chibok girls, warned the federal government against the inertia and paucity of information that was the lot of the nation when the schoolgirls were abducted in 2014.
“God forbids that we are indeed missing daughters who went to school once again. God forbids that anything resembling a re-enactment of the torture of the nearly four years of our Chibok Girls tragedy has happened to Nigeria. Ah. God forbids this evil in our land a second time”, Ezekwesili said.
As dusk gave way to night fall on Wednesday, the Yobe State government announced that it had scant information on the kidnappings.
Yobe State added that out of the 926 students in the school, over 50 remained unaccounted for at the time the statement was issued.
With so much uncertainty in the air, President Buhari whose silence on the incident had been criticized all week, had to speak up.
Military swings into action
“I have directed the Military and Police to mobilize immediately to ensure that all the missing girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi, are found”, Buhari declared.
“The Minister of Defence will also lead a federal government delegation to Yobe tomorrow, to ascertain the situation.
”I share the anguish of all the parents and guardians of the girls that remain unaccounted for. I would like to assure them that we are doing all in our power to ensure the safe return of all the girls”, Buhari said.
Within minutes of the president’s statement, news filtered in that most of the girls had been rescued by the military.
At around midnight on Wednesday, Reuters quoted parents and a government official as saying that 76 girls had been rescued with at least 13 still missing.
Two girls had been found dead, Reuters reported.
At about 9pm on Wednesday, jubilant residents poured into the streets of Gaidam town, Yobe, to welcome the girls.
Daily Trust reports that “women, including house wives and their children lined up on the Maine-Sorroa Street where they received the schoolgirls amidst cheers”.
Children riding bicycles chanted a victorious “Gari ya waye” slogan in Hausa language which translates to “the insurgents are no longer a threat.”
Mallam Usman Kura told Daily Trust that he had not been out of his home that late in three years.
“But today is a happy day, we are very excited. So my entire family has come to witness their return. All in this town are agog over their rescue”, he said.
Boko Haram commenced a bloody insurgency against the Nigerian State in 2009–one aimed at carving out a hardline Islamic State for themselves.
The terrorist sect has abducted thousands and killed hundreds in the intervening years.
The Buhari led federal government entered a controversial prisoner swap deal with the terrorists over the 276 abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
Over 100 of the Chibok schoolgirls are still being held by the terrorists, however.
Boko Haram itself has been split between the Abubakar Shekau and Al Barnawi factions; further complicating matters for the Nigerian government.
Powered by WPeMatico