Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima has confirmed that the girls shown in a video released by the Boko Haram sect are part of the schoolgirls abducted at Government Secondary School, Chibok following a night attack on April 14, 2014.
Governor Shettima announced this, yesterday, during a press briefing, held after a peaceful procession by the Coalition of Civil Society bodies and activists under the “#Bring Back Our Girls” initiative, in Abuja.
Fifty-four of the girls from the video were identified by their names, at an exercise that involved some parents of the girls, fellow students that include escapees from abduction, some teachers, security men and some officials of the Borno state government, Gov. Shettima said at the Government House, in Maiduguri.
The state government further said that 23 more names have just been identified by parents, students and teachers of the Government secondary school, Chibok at a resumed identification exercise last night at the Government House; however the names of schoolgirls was not supplied as at press time. The state government added that the figures of those identified by their names were climbing, as the exercise continued.
Shettima had, on Monday, directed the Chairman of Chibok and other government officials to mass produce the video and play it before parents of the abducted girls, other students especially those who escaped from captivity, teachers and management of the school as well as other community members in Chibok.
After the exercise in Chibok, Governor Shettima directed for another round of verification exercise to be conducted at the Government House in order to cross-check findings so as not to mislead the public.
He said the names of the girls are currently being compared with school records, as well as the names published some days back, to ensure accuracy.
Meanwhile, some parents of the over 200 abducted students yesterday identified the girls displayed in Monday’s Boko Haram video as their daughters. The parents spoke to newsmen shortly after watching the video at the Government House, Maiduguri.
The parents and the other girls who escaped from the Boko Haram, were summoned to Government House, Maiduguri, to watch the video, with a view to find out if they can identify any of the hostages.
They spent over two hours in a closed-door meeting before reviewing the video, but the officials didn’t brief journalists after watching the video.
Similarly, parents and the escapees were prevented from responding to enquiries made by reporters if they have indeed identified any of the abducted girls.
However, some parents who spoke to newsmen on phone confirmed that they have recognised their daughters.
Mr. Lawan Zannah said in a phone interview “I thank God that I saw my daughter, Aisha Zannah in the picture. They are our girls who were abducted one month ago.” He urged security agents to work towards rescuing the girls safely. “We want our girls to return home safely now that we know that they
are still alive,’ he said.
Another parent, Shettima Haruna, corroborated the claim, saying: “All the girls shown in the video were the abducted GGSC girls.
Another parent, who spoke on anonymous condition, wondered how the girls were able to read in Arabic. “The lady reciting the Quran is from Kubur Bula village, she had been a good Christian, but I wonder what they did to her. Her name is Rebecca but she looked like a true Muslim in the video’, he said.