The Federal Government is sending to Cameroun immediately a delegation comprising parents of some of the girls abducted in Chibok, Borno State. They are to go and identify the self-professed Chibok girl suicide bomber arrested in the northern part of that country on Friday.
The 15 year old girl and her female accomplice were apprehended by local self-defence forces in the village of Limani, in an area of northern Cameroun that has been the target of frequent suicide bombings in recent months moment before they could blow themselves up.
The two carried explosive devices on their bodies.
They are now being interrogated by Cameroun’s security agents who said they would contact their Nigerian counterparts with a view to ascertaining the ‘Chibok girl’s’ claim.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, said that Women Affairs Minister Aisha Alhassan and the Nigerian High Commissioner in Cameroon have already swung into action and are receiving a lot of cooperation from the Cameroonian authorities on the issue.
Shehu confirmed that one of the two girls indeed claimed to be among the abducted girls although there were doubts last night about the claim following fresh information from Cameroon that the two girls were aged about ten years.
“One of the two is also believed to be heavily drugged and therefore not in full control of her senses,” Shehu added.
The Nigerian High Commissioner in Cameroon, Ambassador Hadiza Zakari Mustapha is expected to seek permission to meet with the suspects.
The Murtala Muhammed Foundation has offered to sponsor two parents from Chibok who have been selected to embark on the trip to Cameroon.
The two are Yakubu Nkeki, Chairman of the Parents of the Abducted Girls from Chibok Association, and Yana Galang, the group’s women leader.
“The Nigerian High Commission will receive the two and will facilitate their access to the two girls once permission to meet and verify their identity is obtained from the Cameroonian authorities,” Shehu said.
Nigeria and the rest of the world, The Nation gathered on good authority in Abuja yesterday, are keen to hear revelations that may be made by the suspect if truly she is one of the 219 girls abducted by the terror sect, Boko Haram, from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State in April, 2014.
Government has been unable to establish the whereabouts of the girls which makes their rescue difficult.
Well placed sources confirmed last night that the ‘Chibok girl’ was yesterday flown from Maroua in northern Cameroun to the capital, Yaounde for debriefing and identification.
Abuja was however monitoring development last night.
The Defence Headquarters was said to be waiting for information on the development from the Multi-National Joint Task Force of which Cameroun is a member.
The source said: “From the situation report, the girl was taken to Salak Airport in Maroua from where she was flown to Yaounde for debriefing and proper identification.
“The debriefing of the suspect will begin later today (last night). Apart from Nigeria, many countries are interested in the latest development.
“The Federal Government is monitoring the situation in Cameroon to get the true picture of who was arrested.
“All I can assure you is that a bilateral understanding will prevail at the end”
A military source said the Camerounian military was yet to link up with the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) with the appropriate communication.
“So, the Nigerian military authorities cannot make any categorical statement. Even when we get information from Cameroun, we still have to verify it.”
It is expected that the girl, if truly is among the missing Chibok students, will shed light on their abduction, their treatment by the terrorists, the fate of the other girls and the like.
#BringBackOurGirls group which was set up to arouse public interest in the fate of the Chibok girls said yesterday in Abuja that it was expecting official information from the Federal Government on the matter.
Spokespersons for the group- Aisha Yesufu, Oby Ezekwesili and Hadiza Bala Usman, said in statement in Abuja that they could not respond immediately to the news “conclusively until we have facts from the Nigerian government; from whom we requested and have eagerly been awaiting official information on the matter.
“In the interim however, our thoughts are as follows:
“The claim by the young woman that she is a Chibok girl should reawaken the Nigerian government to the zeal and commitment necessary for ensuring that they are rescued and brought back;
“This development suggests that we now have a possible source of credible intelligence as to what transpired, where the others are, and other leads required to facilitate their rescue.
“Regardless of whether she is one of our Chibok girls or not, our thoughts and sentiments remain the same:
i. Using children, girls who should be in school (or any humans at all) as suicide bombers is not only tragic and cruel, it is completely reprehensible and we denounce it;
ii.These children suicide bomber are themselves victims, and must be seen and treated as such;
iii. We all must hasten to free all those in captivity. For as long as they are with the monsters, we all are ourselves unsafe and equally in captivity;
A few weeks ago, a girl suicide bomber did not detonate her device at an IDP camp because she knew her family was most likely in that camp, and she could not kill them.
It is important to send out messages that counter the programming of the terrorists. This may help in empowering these victims from detonating the explosives and accessing help;
This particular experience highlights the importance of building not only a regional coalition among neighbouring countries to counter terror, but a global one.
“The Nigerian government as a matter of urgency needs to swiftly act to ascertain the facts of this matter and make them public. It is getting to 24 hours since the news broke.
“We need to know her name and identity, her parents’ names, where she is from, possibly extract DNA samples for quick testing and matching, etc.
“This should be a wakeup call to the Nigerian government to adopt and utilise our citizens-developed tool the Verification, Authentication, and Reunification System (VARS) designed by our movement for such scenarios as these. This tool was accepted by the federal government on 8 July 2015 during our meeting with the president, but has not been deployed.
“Likewise, the Missing Persons Register which would have been useful in tracking this young victim in order to commence her rehabilitation, reunification, and reintegration process with her family and community.”
Each of the two girls in Cameroun were said to be carrying explosives weighing 12kilogrammes.