Proof-of-Life Video Credible, Says Shehu Sani

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Yemi Adebowale with agency report

Senator Shehu Sani has thrown his weight behind the CNN proof-of-life video, which showed 15 of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok town two years ago, saying that the video is credible.

Sani and his colleagues in the Senate had on Thursday demanded updates from the nation’s security agencies on attempts to rescue the girls.

“With the video and other things brought in, we need the security agents to brief us on what they have been able to achieve. We expect the security chiefs to speak to the Senate early next week, ” Sani told CNN by phone yesterday.

Sani was the first Nigerian senator to comment on the proof-of-life video, calling it credible during an interview on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Asked why the security chiefs had not appeared before the Senate at any point in the last two years, Sani told CNN by phone that the government’s focus had been on military action against Boko Haram, the terrorist group thought to be responsible for the kidnapping.

“The military has succeeded in rescuing hundreds of women and girls, but CNN’s video has now given the Senate renewed impetus and added a new dimension.

“CNN’s reporting of the Chibok girls’ proof-of-life video makes it clear that the kidnapping was not a hoax and that the girls had not been killed or sold as sex slaves,” said Sani.

Images of a broken Rifkatu Ayuba who recognized her daughter, Saratu, in the video produced by her captors and obtained exclusively by CNN prompted renewed outrage over the 2014 kidnappings.

From protesters marching in Nigerian cities to social media users in distant countries raising their voices, the story stirred fresh outpourings of anger and frustration at the atrocity, and the official response.

The video, obtained by CNN and showing 15 girls in robes identifying themselves, is believed to have been made in December during negotiations between the government and parties claiming to represent Boko Haram.

Shot on Christmas Day, it was released by someone eager to give the girls’ parents hope that some of their daughters were still alive, and to prompt the government to help secure their release.

Two of the three women to whom CNN screened the footage recognised their daughters; a third was distressed that it did not show her daughter.

A classmate of the missing girls also identified several of the teens in the footage.