On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the abduction of over 270 students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, President Muhammadu Buhari says a breakdown in talks between government and the abductors is holding back the release of the remaining victims.
There are about 100 girls left in Boko Haram captivity after the escape and release, through negotiation, of over 150 others.
Over 270 were abducted by the terror sect when its men invaded the school on the night of April 14 2014.
Buhari, in a message to the parents of the girls yesterday, urged the parents to keep their hopes alive on the return of their daughters.
He said: “We are concerned and aware that it is taking long to bring the rest of our daughters back home, but be assured that this administration is doing its very best to free the girls from their captors.
“Unfortunately, the negotiations between the government and Boko Haram suffered some unexpected setbacks, owing mainly to a lack of agreement among their abductors, whose internal differences have led to a divergence of voices regarding the outcome of the talks.
“We know that this is not the news parents want to hear after four whole years of waiting, but we want to be as honest as possible with you.
“However, this government is not relenting. We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up.
“Don’t give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again. Don’t lose faith in this government’s ability to fulfil our promise of reuniting you with our daughters.
“Don’t imagine for a moment that we have forgotten about our daughters or that we consider their freedom a lost course.’’
President Buhari pledged that as long as he remains the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces the Chibok girls will never be forgotten and all will be done to have them reunited with their families.
In a separate message on the occasion,the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said yesterday that over 1,000 children have been abducted in the northeast by the terror sect,Boko Haram, since 2013.
The figure includes the Chibok girls,a UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall, said yesterday.
He said these “repeated attacks against children in schools are unconscionable.”
Children have the right to education and protection, and the classroom must be a place where they are safe from harm, he stressed.
He called for an end to “all grave violations of children’s rights,” in that part of Nigeria.
The terrorists invaded the school on the night of April 14,2014 and took away the girls.
A few of the girls managed to escape from their abductors while many others were released to the federal government after intense negotiations with the sect.
About a 100 of them are still being held by the terrorists.
Leader of a Boko Haram faction, Abubakar Shekau, said in a video message that the girls have converted to Islam and have been ‘married off.’
Yana Galang, whose daughter Rifkatu is still missing, says she is hopeful her daughter will come back, according to CNN.
Every year on the anniversary of their daughters’ disappearance, the parents gather in Chibok to pray for their safe return.