BORNO State governor, Kashim Shettima, has confirmed that young girls shown in a video released by the Boko Haram sect are part of schoolgirls abducted at Government Secondary School, Chibok, following a night attack on April 14, 2014.
Fifty-four of the girls in the video, according to him, had been identified by their names at an exercise that involved some parents of the girls, fellow students, including escapees from abduction, some teachers, security men and some officials of the Borno State government, led by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Abubakar Kyari.
The parents and students were conveyed to the Government House in Maiduguri to make for an open identification exercise.
Governor Shettima announced this in Abuja on Tuesday, during a press briefing held after a peaceful procession by coalition of civil society bodies and activists under the BringBackOurGirls initiative in Abuja.
Shettima said the figures of those identified by their names were climbing as the exercise went on at the Government House in Maiduguri.
He said he was briefed every 30 minutes.
Initially, while he was addressing the BBOG group, 36 names, according to him, had been identified, but before the end of the press briefing, the number had risen to 54, which he then told journalists.
Shettima had, on Monday, directed the identification exercise to be conducted.
Chairman of Chibok Local Government and other government officials were made to mass produce the video and play before parents of the abducted girls, students, teachers and management of the school, as well as other community members in Chibok. After the exercise in Chibok, Governor Shettima directed another round of verification exercise to be conducted at the Government House, in order to cross check findings so as not to mislead the public.
The second exercise confirmed the preliminary exercise in Chibok.
The names are currently being compared with school records, as well as names published some days ago to ensure accuracy.
Governor Shettima, while addressing the group, said “after bringing back our girls alive, we can open the can of worms, we can tell you who and who are privy to information and I can even give you the time but I am a leader, I am not supposed to overheat the polity. I am to partner to see that we bring back our girls alive.”
Parents identified their children in Boko Haram’s video
One of the parents of the abducted schoolgirls, according to Voice of America (VOA), has recognised his daughter in a video released by militant group, Boko Haram.
The father told VOA Hausa Service, on Tuesday, that he spotted his 18-year-old daughter in the video and believes he also recognised a neighbour’s daughter.
The man, a resident of Chibok, Borno State, according to VOA, said he did not want his last name nor his daughter’s name publicly released for safety reasons.
This development, according to VOA, came after the mother of another kidnapped schoolgirl identified her daughter in the same video.
The chairman of the parent-teachers association at Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, according to Reuters confirmed that mother of the kidnapped schoolgirl watched the video on television on Monday evening and spotted her daughter among the girls sitting on the ground and wearing veils.
“The video got parents apprehensive again after watching it, but the various steps taken by the governments and the coming of the foreign troops are boosting our spirit, though I have not seen any soldier in Chibok yet,’’ Reuters quoted Mpur as saying by telephone.
The girls’ families said most of those seized were Christians, although there were a number of Muslims among them.
US planes begin search for girls •British Foreign Office Minister arrives Nigeria today
THE United States has revealed it is flying “manned” surveillance missions over Nigeria, in an effort to find the missing schoolgirls.
The Pentagon confirmed this on Tuesday, saying experts were poring over Boko Haram’s new video, seeking clues to where the schoolgirls were being held.
“We have shared commercial satellite imagery with Nigeria and are flying manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government’s permission,” Agence France-Presse (AFP), quoted a senior administration official as saying on Monday, but asked not to be named.
It was not immediately clear what kinds of aircraft were being deployed, nor where they had come from, AFP said.
“Our intelligence experts are combing through every detail of the video for clues that might help ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls,” State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, told AFP earlier on Monday.
“We have no reason to question its authenticity,” she added of the video.
British Foreign Office Minister, Mark Simmonds, according to AFP, is expected to travel to Nigeria today for high-level meetings to discuss further British assistance.
The AFP had reported that “a 30-strong US team arrived on the ground last week in Nigeria to help growing efforts to find the girls aged between 16 to 18, snatched from their boarding school in the North-East of the country on April 14.”
The White House, reacting, said “the team included five State Department officials, two strategic communications experts, a civilian security expert and a regional medical support officer.”
The AFP reported that also on the manifest are 10 Defence Department planners already in Nigeria, seven extra military advisors from US Africa Command and four FBI officials expert in hostage negotiations.”
“We are talking about helping the Nigerian government search an area that is roughly the size of New England.
“So this is no small task. But we are certainly bringing resources to bear in our effort to assist the government,” White House spokesman, Jay Carney, told AFP.
Psaki stressed the Nigerian authorities were “in the lead” during the investigation.
The girls’ plight has triggered a storm of outrage across the US, and First Lady Michelle Obama on Saturday for the first time delivered her husband’s weekly address to the nation to say they were both “outraged and heartbroken” by the kidnapping.
The US team is led by the Commander of the US African Command (US-AFRICOM), Lieutenant-General David Rodriguez.
A team of about 30 US experts, members of the FBI and defence and state departments is already in Nigeria to help with the search.
The UK, France and China also have teams on the ground in Nigeria while an Israeli counter-terrorism team is on its way.
We won’t negotiate with insurgents —Mark
SENATE President, David Mark, on Tuesday, said the Federal Government would not negotiate with Boko Haram insurgents over its request that the abducted Chibok girls be swapped for imprisoned insurgents.
Mark, who spoke in Beijing, China, said the Federal Government would not accept the proposal contained in the recently released video by Boko Haram.
He ruled out the possibility of negotiation with insurgents, saying President Goodluck Jonathan would not engage the Islamic militants in seeking the release of the 234 abducted girls.
Mark also said he would be willing to join the Army reserves in the war against terror, if the need arose.
Leader of the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, had appeared in a video on Monday, in which he indicated that the girls would not be released unless the Federal Government released all operatives of the sect it kept in various cells.
Mark, however, said the Federal Government would not negotiate with terrorists under whatever guise.
He said negotiating with terrorists would not serve any good purpose, but further embolden them to wreak more havoc on the people.
He noted that the terrorists were not likely to respect any terms of agreement they might enter into, adding that there was no platform of trust whatsoever
According to him, “with the situation of things now, government has no other option but to militarily wipe out the insurgents from the country’s territory, through ongoing collaborations being made with other countries that had faced or are facing similar challenges.
“We didn’t realise on time that they have international connections, but now that we do, we are already mobilising all the resources and weapons at our disposal along with needed expertise and intelligence sharing from other countries to frontally tackle the insurgents,” he said.
FG ready to dialogue with Boko Haram —Minister
NIGERIA has welcomed Boko Haram’s call for dialogue on the release of the abducted schoolgirls, Special Duties Minister, Tanimu Turaki, was quoted as saying by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
According to BBC, Turaki, who is also the chairman of a committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to find ways of reaching agreement with Boko Haram, said the militant leader, Abubakar Shekau, should send people he trusted to meet the standing committee on reconciliation.
He told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that “dialogue is a key option” in bringing the crisis to an end, adding that “an issue of this nature can be resolved outside of violence.”
Shekau, had, via a video claiming to show the captured girls, said those who had not converted to Islam could be swapped for jailed fighters.
The video, which emerged on Monday, showed about 130 of the girls wearing hijabs and reciting Quran verses.
As a result of his condition for the girls’ release, Turaki said that if Shekau was sincere, he should send representatives for talks.
Nigeria-US relations strategic —CDS
By Chris Agbambu – Abuja
THE Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has described the relationship between Nigeria and the United States as mutual and strategic.
He stated this while receiving in his office the Commander of United States African Command (US-AFRICOM), Lieutenant-General David Rodriguez, at the Defence Headquarters, on Tuesday.
According to the CDS, the Nigerian military had, over time, benefitted immensely from the bilateral relationship between the two countries, particularly in the area of training and military hardware.
He noted that Nigerian Navy, for instance, had received a number of operational equipment and support, as part of United States support to the Nigerian military in combating oil theft and other maritime threats.
On the activities of terrorists in Nigeria, the CDS welcomed the international support for the counter-insurgency operation, stressing that it would complement ongoing efforts by the Nigerian military to find and rescue the missing Chibok girls.
He revealed that the Nigerian military was already re-strategising its operational doctrines to match the emerging trend of asymmetrical warfare currently confronting the nation.
Air Chief Marshal Badeh expressed appreciation to the United States on behalf of the Federal Government for responding positively to the call for assistance in the search and rescue of the abducted schoolgirls.
Earlier, in his remarks, Lieutenant-General Rodriguez said that he was at the Defence Headquarters to discuss modalities in furtherance of US support to Nigerian military to put an end to insurgency in the country.
6.Hauwa Abdu (1st speaker)
14.Saratu Tauji (2nd speaker)
17. Hajara Isa (Amira 3rd speaker)
20.Saraya Emos Ali
23.Maryam Ali Maiyanga
27. Yana Bukar
43.Aisha Lawan Zanna
47.Hauwa M. Maina
48.Mary G. Dauda
53.Na’ omi Bukar