The federal government has announced that the most recent girl who reportedly escaped from the Boko Haram terrorists was not one of the 276 senior secondary Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than three years ago.
On Wednesday, May 17th, the presidency had said that the girl, Mariam Mohammed-Isa, was picked up by the military after fleeing from Boko Haram jihadists.
The 276 Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their dormitory at GGSS on April 14, 2014, were final year senior secondary school (SSS3) students.
But it was later learnt that the girl, Mariam Mohammed-Isa is a 15-year-old JSS 1 student of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno state – where the mass abduction took place.
Confirming the development via a tweet, Laolu Akande, spokesman for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, said the girl was “not part of the 276” but was a junior secondary school “student from Chibok community”.
On Thursday, Sesugh Akume, spokesperson of the #BringBackOurGirls group (BBOG) which has been campaigning for the release of the Chibok girls said the name of the girl could not be found on the group’s list of the abducted girls.
“We’ve carefully perused our list of missing #ChibokGirls but don’t seem to find the name of this latest returnee.
“We have also seen a tweet from the presidency confirming that she isn’t one of them as she is/was a JSS 1 student.
“Whether one of our Chibok girls or not, our joy and excitement is the same for everyone in captivity who regains their freedom. We look forward to all returning soon,” Akume said.
Earlier, in reaction to the announcement, convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili had responded to Akande’s tweets, stating that the Chibok girls were senior secondary school students and not junior secondary school students as Akande had previously stated.
”According to the 2014 Report of the General Ibrahim Sabo Presidential Committee on Chibok Girls, they were 219 SSS students, not JSS,” she wrote.
She stated that the BBOG group is happy about the girl’s release, but cautioned that the federal government should double check its facts before going public.
Boko Haram kidnapped 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town in Borno state on the evening of April 14, 2014, in an abduction that drew international attention to the terrorist group. 57 escaped in the hours that followed but 219 were not so lucky.
Since then, 106 girls have been found, rescued or released, including 82 who were freed earlier this month in a prisoner swap deal for a number of Boko Haram suspects in custody, while 113 of them are still in captivity.
On Wednesday, May 17th, members of the House of Representatives visited the 82 released Chibok school girls at the Department of State Services, DSS, Clinic in Abuja and donated 82 boxes filled with assorted clothing and toiletries.
Chairman of the House Committee on Women in Parliament, Rep. Evelyn Ogoro (Delta-PDP), led the delegation on behalf of the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
Ogoro told the girls that the House held them in high esteem and would support them in every way to ensure that they realised their ambitions in life. She said the speaker sent the materials to them so as to help reintegrate them into the larger society, adding that the lawmakers would continue to cater for their needs.
Describing the girls’ kidnap as a violent intrusion into their privacy, Chairman of the House Committee on Human Rights, Rep. Edward Pwajok (APC -Plateau), their abduction was a disruption of their educational career and advised them to be steadfast.
He also informed the girls that the international community was also supporting the Nigerian government in its quest to rescue the remaining girls and rout Boko Haram.
The lawmakers expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for securing the abducted girls from captivity.