14 July 2014

Nigeria: Malala Tasks FG On Release of Chibok Girls

Photo: Vanguard
Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai.

ABUJA-- Miss Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was almost killed by the Taliban in her country's Swat Valley District for her girl education campaigns, yesterday, in Abuja, tasked the Federal Government to expedite action towards the rescue of the abducted Chibok girls.

She met the BringBackOurGirls campaigners and five of the girls who had earlier escaped from their captors in the Sambisa forest in Borno State. Malala also spoke with their parents.

The five Chibok girls, however, kept mum and refused to share their experiences.

Journalists who swarmed the Unity Fountain, Abuja, yesterday, to hear their tales of woe were disappointed as the girls chose to keep mum. Of the five girls who were brought to Abuja, only one attempted to answer journalists' question but she shut her mouth almost immediately as they appeared to have been warned by their parents and others not to speak to the media.

Malala who marked her 17th birthday yesterday which coincided with the 90th day of the Chibok girls abduction told the government that the girls were the future of the nation and must not only be rescued but protected in their schools.

Voices of schoolgirls more powerful than extremists' guns

The Pakistani teen, who has become an international girl-child education activist, told the Chibok girls to remain strong in the face of the attacks of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, and that in the end, the girls would triumph, arguing that the voices of the girls were more powerful than the guns of the extremists.

According to her, after a long drawn battle with the Taliban, who earlier banned girls from going to school, peace had been restored in the Swat Valley and that all the girls had returned to school.

Her words: "My request to the government is that they should take you seriously. Yes this is the future generation of this country. If you don't focus on the future generation it means you are destroying your country.

"Think about these girls. Make sure that they are safe. Make sure that they are getting the quality education. Make sure that their parents are safe. Make sure they succeed. Make sure that the other girls that are still in abduction of Boko Haram, get released soon and we still have this campaign, we still say BringBackOurGirls.

"The situation at Chibok is the same with the situation in Swat where some extremists stopped more than 400 girls from going to school.

"They killed many children. But people of Swat raised their voices, they spoke against this. They spoke for education. And their voices were more powerful than gun or any other weapon.

"And I believe your voices are more powerful than any other weapon. So believe in yourself and go and continue your journey.

"Continue learning and you will succeed because we did succeed in our journey. There is peace in Swat. Every girl is going to school. The same way, we will be here one day we will see all of you going to school, getting your education."

The five girls she met with are Awa Alhlama, Hauwa Musa, Hauwa John, Kanna Bitrus and Rebecca Ishaku.

Malala is expected to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa today.

BringBackOurgirls gives us hope -- Yaga

One of the parents of the abducted Chibok girls, Maina Musa Yaga, expressed gratitude to the BringBackOurGirls group for giving the parents of the abducted girls hope that their daughters would one day return home.

He said: "We are very much aware of the struggle of this group even though some people are saying you are not the biological parents of the girls but you did not allow it to stop you from doing what you are doing, you see yourselves as part of us. But the Federal Government which we thought will help us to bring our daughters to us is no more showing concern.

"It is through this group that the issue of the abduction of our daughters is being heard across the globe."

Shetima Haruna, father of another girl, Margaret Shetima said that the villagers were in the dark regarding the efforts of the Federal Government to return their daughters home.

He added that most of the villagers had run away from Chibok over incessant attacks by Boko Haram. Some of them, he said, have relocated to other states such as Adamawa and Taraba.

His words: "In the rural area from where I come from, there is no information on efforts to rescue our daughters but it is only through this group.

"It is really a very disturbing issue to us, because seven of the parents whose daughters were abducted are dead and several others out of fear have fled from the Chibok community. They left their houses and farm to settle in other communities and some other states like Taraba and Adamawa."

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