By Omeiza Ajayi
Was she rescued? Was she simply found? Whatever the case, Amina Ali Nkeki, one of the 219 Chibok school girls, is no longer in the terrorists’ den; she has since been ‘recovered’. But, while she is not with her parents, Nkeki is also not with #BringBackOurGirls, a group of individuals who have been advocating the release of the girls and who should know better. She is also not with her ‘Boko Haram husband,’ from whom she was ‘recovered’. Her whereabouts have remained largely unknown. Her Chibok community are at a loss as to her present location and state of being.
Amina reappeared on May 18, 2016, a little more than two years after she and 218 others were snatched from their Government Secondary School, Chibok dormitory by Boko Haram terrorists.
If her ‘rescue’ gave so much hope for the rescue of others, subsequent events have only revealed the ‘bureaucratic bottlenecks on the part of government.
At its 785 special sit-out on Wednesday, June 23, which coincided with the 800th day of the abduction, the #BringBackOurGirls movement raised several issues that should provoke the administration into taking concrete and reassuring steps towards the rescue of the girls and all other persons abducted by the criminals.
President Muhammadu Buhari had stated in his inaugural address: “We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents. This government will do all it can to rescue them alive.”
With the manner Jonathan administration had been castigated for allegedly paying lip-service to the rescue of the girls, one had anxiously looked forward to a reversal of fortunes as soon as the Buhari regime came on stream. However, this is not to say that there has been no considerable gain in the current onslaught against insurgency in the country. For the most, Boko Haram terrorists have been forced into a retreat, albeit, with a significant number of their hostages.
In the face of the deadlock, some #BBOG activists now in government have suddenly become defensive of the administration’s difficult situations.
Indeed, in the face of the strident calls on the administration to raise its game, a number of them have accused the BBOG group of aiming to discredit the Buhari administration.
Co-leader of the group, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, said as much when she declared that the BBOG is administration-blind. “It is unfortunate that there are those who continue to mock our Chibok girls. And when you see them, you would know them. Many of them started with us but now feel that we have to keep quiet because there is a new administration. What are we demanding? Bring back our girls. Our aspiration is administration-blind and we shall not be cowed into silence”, she said.
The posers raised by #BBOG are worth revisiting.
What is the status of Amina Ali Nkeki? At the reception held for her and her family by Buhari, the President had further committed himself to rehabilitating the girl, now a young woman.
“Although we cannot do anything to reverse the horrors of her past, the federal government can and will do everything possible to ensure that the rest of her life takes a completely different course” . Those were the soothing words of Mr President which the BBOG said had “set the standard of expectation for the rehabilitation, resettlement and reintegration of not only Amina Ali but her peers and other abducted citizens once they are rescued from terrorists.”
Over a month later, the whereabouts of Nkeki are not known or is her family involved in her restoration process.
Meanwhile, the #BBOG is asking the Federal Government to respond to the dissatisfaction expressed by the Chibok community on the lack of access of their leaders to their daughter since she was rescued.
The movement is also demanding that the government shares with Nigerians specific programmes for Nkeki, her baby and mother. “Can the Federal Government transparently share with the public the programme of recovery being implemented for Amina Ali? The Federal Government has a duty to do so. The promise of the President that she will receive the best medical, psychological and all such care necessary for her wholesome restoration was very reassuring. We however assert that one month after the promises were made, it is proper that the Federal Government should share what specific programme is on-going for Ms. Ali, her child and her mother’s wellbeing. Extremely important to us are what plans have been made for her eventual return to complete her education”, #BBOG demanded.
Debriefing Nkeki and Hayyatu
When the group met with Buhari, last year, he had said there was no credible intelligence in his possession regarding the location of the abducted girls.
However, many analysts continue to wonder as to what intelligence could be more credible than having Nkeki and the father of her child, Mohammed Hayyatu, around.
Chairperson of the #BBOG Strategic Team, Aisha Yesufu, and Ezekwesili are now asking the Federal Government to confirm to the public that a thorough intelligence debriefing was conducted with Nkeki and Hayyatu who was in her company during her rescue.
Equally of more concern is the status of Hayyatu. Where is he and does the Federal Government plan to prosecute him? Since the military has told Nigerians that Hayyatu is believed to be one of the Boko Haram commanders, the next thing would be to apply the law rather than give in to sentiments or emotions. It is feared in some circles that Nkeki is perhaps suffering from ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and would only want to spend her life with her alleged captor and father of her daughter. That does not however exonerate Hayyatu, who the #BBOG said must be prosecuted for the alleged abduction and rape that resulted in Nkeki’s pregnancy and child-bearing.