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According to Sunday Independent, hopes for the safe return of the over 200 girls, who are still held by the Boko Haram, after their abduction from the dormitory of a Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State on April 15, 2014 may just be slim, although the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, has revealed that they are still alive.
He, however, said the girls are still held in fragmented camps in the dreaded Sambisa forest.
In a confirmation via telephone on Saturday, Shettima also said that the girls could be reunited with their families, all things being equal.
In another separate interview with the Secretary to the Borno State Government (SSG), Ambassador, Baba Jidda, said, “The Chibok girls are still in captivity,” adding that the issue of the safe return of the girls is now beyond Borno State.
He said, “The issue of Chibok girls is a national and indeed an international issue, and we still haven’t heard anything positive about their possible return, especially alive. So, we are praying that this New Year, something tangible would be done by the Federal Government to get back the girls alive to their parents.”
Meanwhile, the state’s governor had hinted that, although some of the girls may have been married off to some insurgents, he said, “From the feelers and information we are getting, they are still alive.“All we can wish is for them to return safely and be reunited with their families.”
Also, the Borno State SSG has hailed the Federal Government for what he described as renewed commitment towards reclaiming some of the Local Governments that have been seized by the Boko Haram insurgents since last year.
“We have about 12 local governments that are inaccessible now, but we are hopeful that in the next few weeks, the Federal Government, which has been careful about collateral damage to civilians would undertake the commitment to ensure that these areas are liberated and flush out the Boko Haram elements,” the SSG said.
Continuing, he said, “With the new commitment being shown by the Federal Government, we are optimistic that elections will also hold in the state and the other states affected by the insurgency.”
“In all cases, the people of Borno are willing and ready for elections. We hope that before the date of the elections, the security situation would have drastically improved. But for now, we are very happy with the feelers that we are receiving from the Federal Government with its intention to take drastic actions with the view to flushing out the insurgents in the occupied local government areas in Borno State,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Founder of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, in a New Year eve prediction, has said the abducted Chibok girls would return home this year.
Bakare, who also pioneered the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), told his congregation on Thursday that Nigeria would enjoy extraordinary grace from God this year, which would see the return of the missing girls.
He said: “The Chibok girls will be returned this year; some people will say ‘they are just using religion to deceive themselves. How will the girls be rescued?’ You will see. I didn’t say it, it is what God said and I believe it.”
Backing his words with various Bible verses, the cleric also predicted a better Nigeria in the coming year, saying, “Whether you are from the East or from the West or from the North or the South, you will experience joy in 2015.
“Other nations will say ‘How did they do it?’ It will be indescribable joy. The nations of the earth will testify.
“I bring good tidings of joy to every part of the nation; but, I am not going to deceive you. We are going to go through some shakings.
“Some people will say ‘If you see a snake on one side and a Fulani man on another, first kill the Fulani. There is also a terrible joke some people tell about the Igbo.
“I asked what I would do with all the table water that was brought and they said ‘You would need it’. The water from the borehole dug deep into the ground was black and when I asked how I would get water to wash and do other things, they said that was why they gave me all the table water”, he said.
However, as the current electoral process gather momentum, the abducted Chibok girls may become more relevant than imagined as their continued stay in captivity is fast becoming a strong campaign issue among political gladiators.
This became evident during a recent meeting with Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the running mate to the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who said the return of the Chibok Girls is a bigger issue than imagined.
Speaking during a media parley in Lagos, Osinbajo said, “During the recent bus ride that I undertook, almost everyone, especially the women that I interacted with, wanted to know what will happen to the Chibok girls.
“They are much more of an issue than I ever imagined. It is a priority for us in APC, once we are given the opportunity to lead.”
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