Monday, 23 May 2016

Mothers of 18 Chibok girls have died

The Chibok girls made and are still making major headlines after they were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in April 2014.

Ladi Lawan Zannah, mother of one of the abducted girls, Aishatu Lawan Zannah, in a chat with a PUNCH correspondent, said 18 of the over 200 mothers of the abducted girls had died of high blood pressure.

She also told the correspondent that she had lost four pregnancies after her daughter’s abduction due to high blood pressure occasioned by emotional trauma.

Zannah said when news filtered into the town that one of the abducted girls named Aishatu had been rescued, she believed that the girl was her daughter.

This, she said, was because only her daughter and one other abducted Chibok girl shared the same first names.

She however said she had not remained the same after finding out that the rescued girl was not her daughter.

Zannah said, “So, when the news broke in the town that one of the missing girls had been found by vigilantes who also brought her to Chibok to verify her claim, I was so happy.

“At the time, the name on the lips of many people was that of Aishatu and I know that there were only two Aishatus among the abducted girls. So, I rushed out in the hope of meeting my own Aishatu. But it turned out that she was not the one. I have not been myself again since that encounter.

“I still have hope that my daughter is still alive and I will definitely meet with her one day.”

The mother said she had had four miscarriages as a result of high blood pressure, which she linked to the emotional trauma she suffered as a result of her daughter’s abduction.

“In my own case, I have never given up hope of reuniting with my daughter because every time in my prayers the Lord still tells me she is alive. I have hope that I will see her alive even though I don’t know what condition she may be in,” she added.

Ayama Pogu, a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, whose wife had died as a result of the emotional trauma she suffered following the abduction of their daughter, Magreth, said though he was optimistic about reuniting with his daughter, some of the abducted girls might never be rescued.

He said, “Even if the children were to return, I am of the view that not all of them will come back in one piece.”

The father of Naomi Adamu, one of the missing girls, who joined the civilian Joint Task Force to assist the military to keep the community safe, decried the government’s slow response in reconstructing and rebuilding damaged infrastructure in Chibok.

He said the delay had hindered a lot of the returnees from settling down even after peace had returned to the town.

Adamu, who said that “my daughter is alive,”  added that he wanted the government to grant the local hunters approval to go into Sambisa Forest.

According to him, most of the girls are dwelling among the Boko Haram sect members in Sambisa Forest.

The parents also lamented the absence of functional secondary schools and hospitals in Chibok.