- Found with child and husband, says others alive
- Buhari: Corruption, injustice rendered military incapable of defeating Boko Haram
Bolaji Adebiyi, Senator Iroegbu, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja, Micheal Olugbode in Maiduguri
For Amina Ali, one of the 276 school girls abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State in April 2014 by the terrorist Boko Haram sect, it was sweet freedom on Tuesday as she was rescued from the fringes of the terrorists’ den in the Sambisa Forest.
And thursday, she will have the rare privilege of meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari who has been scheduled to receive her at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is set to receive her thursday. She will be brought by the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima,” the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Shehu Garba, told Thisday last night.
Although a web of controversy surrounded the circumstances of her rescue yesterday, the school girl, who was rescued along with her four-month old child and her husband, was briefly reunited with her parents before being handed over to the military who after debriefing her presented her to Governor Shettima.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu, who took the girl to the governor, said the governor had promised to present her to President Muhammadu Buhari today. ”I want to further confirm to you that, we have found one of the Chibok girls but plead for your understanding on this issue, we need to give her time to rest as you can see she is traumatized and nursing a baby. ”The governor has told us that he does not want to take credit for this and will hand over the girl to Mr. President who will in turn unveil her to the nation,” Ezugwu said.
Amina is the first and only girl to be rescued out of the missing 219 abducted school girls, 57 of them having escaped at various times in 2014. However, the military, which entered a credit duel over Amina’s rescue yesterday now has 210 more girls to bring back from the terrorists’ gulag.
After the Cable Network News, CNN International, broke news of the Chibok girl’s rescue broke yesterday, attributing the rescue to the Civilian Joint Task Force, a vigilante group assisting the military to fight the Boko Haram, the military confirmed the story, saying its troops performed the fit.
“This is to confirm that one of the abducted Chibok school girls, Falmata Mbalala, was among the rescued persons by our troops at Baale, near Damboa, Borno State,” Col. Sani Usman, the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), stated in a terse statement.
Usman in another statement, however, clarified that the girls name was Amina Ali, adding that she was found with a four-month old baby, named Safiyat, as well as a man, said to be her husband.
He explained how the girl was rescued, “In continuation of Operation Crackdown, troops of 25 Brigade, Damboa in conjunction with Civilian JTF deployed in one of the blocking positions at Baale, near Damboa rescued one Miss Amina Ali and a suspected Boko Haram terrorist, Mohammed Hayatu, who claimed to be her husband.” He said that both were brought to Headquarters 25 Task Force Brigade, Damboa about 2.30pm yesterday.
Shortly after the confirmation by the military, the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group also issued a statement in which it identified the rescued girl as Amina Darsha Nkeki, and confirmed that she was one of the missing 219 Chibok girls.
According to a statement signed by one of the leaders of the group, Jeff Okoroafor, Amina’s name is the 127th on its list of the missing 219 girls.
He said, “One of our abducted Chibok girls, Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, from Mbalala has been found in Kulakaisa area at the fringes of Sambisa Forest by vigilantes from Chibok on patrol yesterday (Tuesday) night. Her name is #127 on our list of 219 missing Chibok girls attached.”
He quoted the Chairman of the Chibok Girls’ Parents Association, Mr. Yakubu Nkeki, to have said that Amina was found alongside her child of about a year old, adding that she identified the Vice Principal of her school, Government Secondary School, Chibok, and also spoke with her mother.
Okoroafor added, “She provided useful information that her other classmates are still held under heavy terrorist captivity in the Sambisa forest area.”
He said the rescued girl had been handed over by the vigilantes to Nigerian troops at Damboa who help with facilitating the verification of her identity, stating, however, that the group would await official confirmations from the military and the Nigerian government.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has attributed the success recorded in the fight against Boko Haram to elimination of corruption in the armed forces.
A statement issued in Abuja yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said Buhari made the declaration while speaking with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb,
Buhari said corruption was largely responsible for the inability of the Nigerian military to quickly defeat Boko Haram.
The president said the loss of 14 local government areas to Boko Haram had greatly tarnished the reputation of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Buhari noted, however, that with measures taken by his administration to curb corruption and provide better weaponry, logistics, training and welfare for soldiers on the frontlines, the Nigerian military had almost totally incapacitated Boko Haram as a fighting force and recovered all territories that were lost to the terrorist sect.
“When we curbed corruption and removed the injustice in the military, we began to make progress,” Buhari said.
Welcoming the support of Muslims across the world for Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram, the president said that the war against terrorism was also a war against injustice, which was not condoned by Islam and all the major religions.
“You can’t kill the innocent in churches or in mosques and shout Allahu Akbar,” Buhari said, adding that the visit of El-Tayeb and his expression of solidarity with Nigeria in the war against terrorism was a clear indication of global Muslim support for Nigeria against the unjust killing of the innocent by terrorists.
The president, who reaffirmed his administration’s determination to resettle all persons who were displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency, thanked the Grand Imam for the donation of scholarships, educational and medical supplies to Nigeria’s Internally Displaced Persons.
El-Tayeb told Buhari that Muslims all over the world shared Nigeria’s pains from terrorism and would continue to support efforts to ensure the return of peace and unity amongst all faiths in the country.