The Nigerian government says it cannot give a time frame for the return of the over 219 schoolgirls abducted from a government secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in 2014.
It, however, assured Nigerians that everything needed to be done to ensure the release of the girls was being done.
Vice President Yemi Osibajo gave the assurance on Wednesday while addressing a group of civil society organisations and the diplomats at a forum on vulnerable people and conflict situation in Nigeria.
Professor Osinbajo stressed that in the heart of the government’s war on terror was the safe return of the abducted girls, contrary to popular insinuations that it was half-hearted in its approach.
He urged Nigerians to guard their utterances, be patient and trust the security agencies which he said were working hard to ensure the liberation of all Nigeria’s territory and also free all hostages including the girls.
The Vice President also cautioned that it would be counter-productive to put a time frame to the return of the girls abducted from their schools dormitory on April 14, 2014.
He reiterated that the government was working to ensure their safe return in the shortest possible time.
Giving the government’s position on the plight of those who have become displaced and vulnerable, the Vice President urged civil rights advocates to also begin to hold states and local governments’ authorities more accountable because the Federal Government alone could not tackle socio-economic needs of the people.
The event was organised by the office of the National Security Adviser to mark the second year anniversary of the abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno State.
A victim of Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, Fatima Salihu, could not hold her emotions back, as she recalls her experience in the hands of the terrorists and what life has become for her and many others like her since then.
Some members of some civil society groups, who had visited Chibok and Biu in Borno State to aid the displaced persons as a result of the insurgency, also shared their experiences.
They want the government to match its words with action, by taking immediate steps to ameliorate the immediate needs of the victims and put in place a long term plan for the rehabilitation of the displaced persons and ensure the speedy return of the abducted school girls.
The participants at the event held on to their expectations and hopes that it would not be another talk shop.
Child Suicide Bombers
The girls’ abduction had triggered protests in different countries in 2014, with demonstrators demanding for more efforts from the government to rescue the girls.
Activists have also stressed the need for greater protection of children in the northeast region of Nigeria just as the Boko Haram had at one time or the other used children as suicide bombers.
On Monday, the United Nations Children’s Fund in a report said that one in every five “suicide bombers” used by Boko Haram in the past two years has been a child.