5 May 2014

Nigeria: No Missing Girls, Say First Lady, Women's Group

Abuja — The meeting of women stakeholders convened by the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, over the abducted girls of a secondary school in Chibok, rose on Monday morning with a unanimous declaration that contradictory narratives given by the major actors showed that no girls were abducted.

The meeting which held at the Presidential Villa between 6pm on Sunday and 3am the following day resolved that the Borno state government had a lot to hide in the matter and should either produce the girls or tell a believable story of the circumstances surrounding the alleged abduction three weeks ago.

The President's wife and other women drawn from various interest groups in the country, present, grilled the Borno state Commissioner of Police, the Chibok Divisional Police Officer; the army captain in charge of the region; as well as the commissioners of Health and Education; and the school principal, Hajia Asabe, before drawing their conclusions.

Some drama played out when one of the leaders of the demonstrators at a rally in Abuja, Naomi Murlah, who had claimed to be a mother of one of the abducted girls, was uncovered to have entered the venue of the meeting under the name, Grace.

After cross-examination by the First Lady, Minister of Women Affairs, Zainab Maina, and others, Murlah who admitted that she had not been to Chibok in the past one year, confessed that: "It was in the morning that somebody called me from Borno State, one Mrs. Grace. She said that she was supposed to come but since we are here as Chibok representatives, that we should come and represent her here."

Murlah, said to be a deputy director at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), was subsequently handed over to the Borno CP, even as the women demanded that her conduct be formally reported to the Head of Service of the Federation for appropriate sanctions.

"This is the woman who went to National Assembly with the women in black and she claimed that her child was missing and that she is the leader of parents that their children are missing in Chibok. Senate President believed them, even me believed them.

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