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Rescued Chibok Girls Married Off to Repentant Boko Haram Commanders

Is the Borno Government Helping the Terrorists Preserve Unions Forced Upon Christian Captives?

By Luka Binniyat and Mike Odeh James

(Maiduguri) The President of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has accused the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Umara Zulum, of secretly marrying off rescued Chibok girls to their Boko Haram abductors, who have laid down arms and provided them accommodation in Maiduguri without the consent of their parents.

Leader of Christian Belt Cries ‘Foul’

Middle Belt Forum President Bitrus Pogu. Courtesy of @infoholic on X.
Middle Belt Forum President Bitrus Pogu. Courtesy of @infoholic on X.

President Bitrus Pogu, a native of Chibok town and leader of the MBF – the socio-cultural pressure group of all the 350 ethnic groups in the Middle Belt, has given voice to the frustration of parents of the Chibok girls, who have been blocked by the Federal government to reunite with 19 Chibok girls who are in the secluded care of Nigerian government teachers and therapists. 

Pogu’s allegation was supported by some parents of the kidnapped girls in Chibok town, when TruthNigeria went on a fact-finding mission recently.

But Zulum’s representative denied the allegation. Borno State Commissioner of Information and Internal Security, Prof. Usman Tar, said they were kept in a camp for skills acquisition and to remove the “toxic Islam” they were exposed to before being allowed to join their parents.

On the night of April 14, 2014, Boko Haram Terrorists drove into the town of Chibok, approximately 80 miles south of Maiduguri with several large open trucks and invaded the only high school in the town – Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok – a boarding school for girls.

They abducted 276 girls out of which 18 were Muslims and drove into the dark night taking away forever the peace and conviviality of the town, according to locals interviewed.

At least 103 of the girls were released after a series of opaque negotiations between the Islamic terrorists and the government in 2016-2017. A few more had escaped from their captors. Some girls were later rescued after giving birth to babies of the terrorists who raped them.

The latest is Lydia Simon who escaped to Nigerian troops in the treacherous Mandara mountain, South of Borno, bordering the Republic of Cameroon last week as reported by Truth Nigeria.

Privileged ‘Repentant’ Boko Haram

“The (Borno State Government) has married off these girls to Boko Haram. These are the Boko Haram Terrorists that have been labelled as ‘repentant’ Boko Haram’,” Pogo said to TruthNigeria. The government of Zulum has given them houses to live with the captors who forcefully made them Islamist girls of Chibok. They suffered 10 years of rape and even had children for the terrorists,” Pogu said

“Zulum and his government have denied the parents of these girls any access to their daughters. They don’t want them to reunite with their children,” he said.

“So, don’t be carried by what Zulum is saying about these girls in public,” Pogo went on to say. “The girls have been remarried again to the so-called repentant terrorists, and Zulum has provided them with accommodation inside Maiduguri.”

“That is to say, the government of Zulum is an extension of Boko Haram or Boko Haram is an extension of the government of Zulum,” he added.

Chairman Chibok Girl's Parents Association, Mr Yakubu Nkeki.
Chairman Chibok Girl’s Parents Association, Mr Yakubu Nkeki.

Speaking to TruthNigeria in Chibok, the Chairman Chibok Girl’s Parents Association, Mr Yakubu Nkeki, a retired Head Teacher said that the government of Babagana Zulum has 19 of the girls in its custody and that they were unaware about what they were doing there.

“When in 2017 about 103 of our girls were released, they were taken to Abuja (Nigeria’s capital city) for counseling and psychological re-orientation. Trauma experts were brought in. There were Christian clerics who specialized in that area. The few Muslim girls had the same treatment.

“After the intensive intervention, all the girls who were forcibly converted to Islam returned to Christianity. Not one of them remained in Islam,” Nkeki said.

“Some of them went to the University and graduated. Some are still in school. Some got vocational training skills, and some are married.  A few are out of the country, but all are Christian,” he said

“But in the case of the ones with the Borno State government, we don’t know who is seeing them. In fact, they were in the same camp with the repentant Boko Haram Terrorists who abducted them.

“We hear all kinds of rumors. We can’t see them. And Gov Zulum would not speak to us about them,” he said.

Armed with this information Truth Nigeria returned to a sweltering Maiduguri where Borno State Commissioner of Information and International Security, Prof. Usman Tar, a professor of Defense and Security Studies, agreed to field questions to TruthNigeria in his office.

“Most of these girls have returned to their parents,” he said.

“The recent returnees are 19. We are putting them through trauma counseling and ‘second chance’ school. We put their children in kindergarten school. This will continue until the program that will put them back to normal life is completed. Once that’s done, they go back to their parents,” he said.

He did not however say how long the program would last.

“As I told you, they are just 19,” he said.

‘The one that returned yesterday (Lydia Simon), do you want us to just release her,” he queried. “You will be surprised that she will say she wants to go back,” he pointed out.

According to him, the girls were kidnapped when they were teenagers, but have now attained full adulthood and are even parents and have developed minds of their own.

“We have to remove the toxic kind of Islam and ideology given to them and they have the right to return to any of their faith,” he said.

“Don’t forget that some of the kidnapped girls are also Muslims. But no one is talking about that,” he added.

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution April 12 calling on government of Nigeria to make all possible efforts to rescue some 90 Chibok school girls kidnapped in 2014 and to redouble efforts to bring an end to the conflict in Northeast Nigeria.

Nigerian-born human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe has written in an open letter to U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson “urging that the Nigerian government ensure that full family reunification for returned girls rather than the worrisome, enforced seclusion they currently experience in government custody.”

Luka Binniyat and Mike Odeh James are Kaduna-based conflict reporters for Truthnigeria.

 

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