Chibok girls always on Buhari's mind – Osinbajo …as parents identify daughters in new Boko Haram video

By The Citizen
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Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday cautioned against cynicism and hopelessness about the recovery of the 217 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram.

According to him, their recovery is uppermost in the mind of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He spoke at a one-day Roundtable on Vulnerable People in Insurgency and other conflicts in Nigeria, a forum organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo explained that the recovery of the Chibok girls is of utmost importance to the extent that it dominated security meetings since President Buhari as a parent shares in their trauma.

He said: 'At any security council meeting that I have attended, the President in particular has always been concerned about the question of Chibok girls in particular. Of course it comes out of ensuring that apart from the international importance attached to it, he reflects on the abduction as if any of the girls is one of his own'.

Meanwhile, three mothers of schoolgirls abducted from Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014 said they had identified their daughters in a video released by Islamist group Boko Haram, the first possible sighting of the girls since a video in May 2014.

Reuters reported that about 15 girls featured in the video released to local officials on Tuesday, saying they were from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok and pleading with the Nigerian government to cooperate with Boko Haram on their release.

The girls were filmed saying they were being treated well but wanted to go home and be with their families.

Boko Haram militants abducted 276 schoolgirls from Chibok exactly two years ago, with 57 students managing to escape but 219 still missing despite a global campaign#BringBackOurGirls involving celebrities and the wife of the US President, Michelle Obama.

Reuters reported that mothers Rifkatu Ayuba and Mary Ishaya said they recognised their daughters, Saratu and Hauwa, in the video, while a third mother, Yana Galang, identified five of the missing girls. Local officials said more identifications were needed.

'The girls were looking very, very well,' Galang said in a telephone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation after viewing the video at a screening organised by local officials in Maiduguri.

The three mothers were invited to the viewing centre by the Chairman of Chibok Local Government Area, Bana Lawan, who confirmed that he had paid their travel costs to Maiduguri.

'They were definitely our daughters … all we want is for the government to bring back our girls,' said Galang, adding all the girls were wearing hijab in the video.

No member of Boko Haram was visible in the video and local officials were not immediately available to give details on how they received the video.

'We only heard a man's voice and saw his finger pointing at the girls one after the other,' Reuters quoted Galang as saying.

She said the girls in the video spoke in Hausa language and Kibaku, the local Chibok language.

Galang said one mother, Ayuba, was relieved to see her daughter as she had heard a rumour shortly after the kidnapping that her daughter had been killed by Boko Haram.

'She was very happy to see her in the video … her daughter is alive,' Galang said. - Additional reports from The Nation, Punch.