No fewer than 54 of the girls shown in the video released on Monday by Boko Haram have been identified by their parents.
The video was shown to the parents, pupils and teachers of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, security men and some officials of the Borno State Governmentat in the Government House, Maiduguri on Tuesday.
Isa Gusau, Special Adviser to Governor Kashim Shettima on Communications, however, explained in a statement that the names were “currently being compared with school records as well as the ones published some days back to ensure accuracy.”
“The exercise continues at the Government House and it is hoped that more names will be established by parents, students and teachers as well as management of the affected school,” Gusau added.
The statement reads in part, “Governor Shettima has confirmed that the young girls shown in a video released by Boko Haram are part of the schoolgirls abducted at the Government Secondary School, Chibok following a night attack on April 14, 2014.
“Fifty four of the girls in the video have been identified by their names at an exercise that involved some parents of the girls, fellow students that include those that escaped the abduction, some teachers, security men and some officials of the state government led by the Chief of Staff to the Government House,Abubakar Kyari.
“The parents and students were conveyed to the Government House in Maiduguri to make for an open identification.
“Governor Shettima announced this in Abuja today during a press briefing held after a peaceful procession by a coalition of civil society bodies and activists under the Bring Back Our Girls 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 was briefed every 30 minutes. Initially, while he was addressing the BBOG group, 36 names had been identified but before his press briefing an hour later, the number had climbed to 54 which he then told journalists.
“He had on Monday directed the identification to be conducted. The Chairman of Chibok Local Government Area and other government officials were made to mass produce the video.
“But after the exercise in Chibok, Governor Shettima directed for another round of verification 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.”
Before the statement, Reuter said one of the parents had identified her daughter in the video.
It quoted the Chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association of the school, Dumoma Mpur, as saying that the woman 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, even though I have not seen even one soldier in Chibok yet,” Mpur said.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana(SAN), also said that some of the parents had identified their children in the video.
Falana, who addressed members of the National Conference Committee on Civil Society, Labour, Youths and Sports in Abuja on Tuesday, said, “Some parents that we have spoken with said that they have watched the video and have been able to identify their children.”
We’re ready for talks with Boko Haram –FG
But as the video viewing continued in Maiduguri, the Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki, said the Federal Government was ready to negotiate the release of the girls with Boko Haram. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had said on Monday that the sect was ready to swap the abducted girls for his members detained by security forces across the country.
Turaki, who is also the chairman of the committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to find ways of reaching agreement with Boko Haram, said that if Shekau was sincere, he should send people he trusted to meet his committee.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, in a statement issued after Jonathan’s meeting with the Congolese President, Denis Sassou N’guesso, said the two leaders had demanded the unconditional release of the girls.
They also sought the release of all others held against their will by Boko Haram.
Jonathan was in Congo for consultations on regional security ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.
Abati said the President and N’guesso also called on African leaders, the African Union and its Peace and Security Council to intensify efforts aimed at the eradication of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups on the continent.
The statement reads in part, “Expressing their full appreciation of the international community’s support for Nigeria’s efforts to locate and rescue the abducted girls, President Jonathan and his Congolese counterpart urged the global community to remain united and steadfast in its rejection of all forms of terrorism.”
Mark opposes negotiation
Senate President David Mark had in far away Beijing, China ruled out the possibility of the Federal Government negotiating with the sect for the release of the female pupils.
Mark told journalists that “the government would never negotiate with terrorists of which Shekau is one, under whatever circumstance.”
He argued that negotiating with the terrorists would “further give them room to wreak more havoc on both the country and its people.”
Mark added, “Nigeria will not negotiate with the terrorists under any circumstance because you don’t negotiate with criminals which Boko Haram insurgents are.
“We are going to bring the girls back safe and sound to their parents without any negotiation with Boko Haram. Every effort towards that which cannot be disclosed in the public is being made to rescue the girls.”
US drones, other aircraft join search Meanwhile, the United States has begun flying “manned” missions over Nigeria to track the abducted schoolgirls.
“We have shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians and we are flying manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government’s permission,” a senior US official told the Agence France Presse, asking not to be named.
Also,US experts are carefully studying the Boko Haram video in the hope it might yield vital clues as to where the girls are being held.
State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, 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.
“We have no reason to question its authenticity.”
Psaki recalled that the US policy was also “to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, including ransoms or concessions.”
A 30-strong US team arrived on the ground last week in Nigeria to help growing efforts to find the girls aged between 16 and 18.
The White House said the team included five State Department officials, two strategic communications experts, a civilian security expert and a regional medical support officer.
Also on the manifest are 10 Defence Department planners, seven extra military advisors from US Africa Command and four FBI(Federal Bureau of Investigation) officials and experts in hostage negotiations.
“We are talking about helping the Nigerian government search an area that is roughly the size of New England,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
“So this is no small task. But we are certainly bringing resources to bear in our effort to assist the(Nigerian) government.”
US commander, Badeh meet
The Commander of the United States African Command, Lt.- Gen. David Rodriguez, on Tuesday met with the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, over Washington’s assistance to Nigeria in the fight against insurgency.
A Defence headquarters statement quoted Badeh as saying that the military was ‘already re-strategising its operational doctrines to match the emerging trend of asymmetrical warfare currently confronting the nation.’
Army changes 21 Armoured Brigade Commander, flays Shettima, Senators
The authorities of the Nigerian Army have made some strategic changes at command level in the North-East.
A military source said on Tuesday that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Kenneth Minimah, had authorised the removal of the Commander of the 21 Armoured Brigade, Maiduguri, Brig.-General Ogundele.
Investigations revealed that the former Commandant of the 22 Armoured Brigade, Ilorin, Brig.-Gen. A.B. Akomolafe, replaced Ogundele.
The former Chief of Staff to the Commander of the 21 Armoured Brigade, Col. Ekepere, was moved to the newly created Infantry Brigade, Gwoza.
It was learnt that Ogundele, who fought off the insurgent’s invasion of the headquarters of the 21 Armoured Battalion in March, was summoned to Abuja by Minimah.
Meanwhile, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Olajide Laleye, has announced the immediate promotion of 296 personnel of the Nigerian Army for a rare display of gallantry during an attack in which several insurgents were killed .
Also, the Director of Defence Information, Maj.Gen Chris Olukolade, could not be reached for comment as the calls to his mobile telephone line did not connect.
Shettima, Borno senators gave wrong information -DHQ
The military has said that Governor Shettima, and senators from Borno State gave misleading information to security operatives on the abduction of the girls .
The Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen Chris Olukolade, said Shettima gave information about the movement of 60 trucks which were found to be false.
Speaking on African Independent Television Focus Nigeria Programme on Tuesday, Olukolade said the military swung into action using aircraft to comb the area and destination given by the governor only to find nothing.
He claimed that the information was released with the intent to wear out the military through waste of resources.
The Defence spokesman added that similar information given by Senators from the area led the military nowhere.
He said, “I think, what you were saying was in retrospect. Like I said, we want to avoid engaging him(governor) in public. There was a piece of information he gave sometime which was about the movement of 60 vehicles.
“Immediately that information came, aircraft went on air instantly. The whole of the environment he gave was searched, up till the points he said was the destination of those vehicles. They were searched thoroughly and nothing was found.
“And this is one issue about information in this operation, which seem to have been, most of the time, unhelpful because it tends to just want to wear us out and expend resources. By the time aircraft go on air, you can imagine the resources involved. We have a series of that experience.
“One problem with the situation right now is too many pieces of information that are of no value at the end of the day. But it is a resolve that no information would be despised, whosever is giving it whether it is the governor or the man on the street. Once the information comes, a lot of action goes into place instantly.
“The same with the senators. In fact, most of the time the Senators speak, it gives us the impression they were in close contact. And many times perhaps, they also mislead.”
Olukolade said that one of the senators also claimed that 300 people were killed at Gamboru Ngala, which was found to be untrue.
LIST OF IDENTIFIED GIRLS
- Agnes Gafane
- Saraya Stober
- Hauwa Bitrus
- Hajara Isa
- Na’omi Philimun
- Hauwa Abdu (1st Speaking)
- Magret Yama
- Shitta Abdu
- Jummai Muta
- Ladi Paul
- Roda Peter
- Filo Dauda
- Godiya Bitrus
- Saratu Tauji (2nd Speaking)
- Ross Daniel
- Hauwa Ali
- Hajara Isa (Amira 3rd Speaking)
- Luba Afga
- Na’omi Luka
- Saraya Emos Ali
- Bilkisu Abdullahi
- Mairama Ali
- Maryam Ali Maiyanga
- Dabora Abbas
- Kabu Mala
- Halima Ali
- Yana Bukar
- Solomi Pugu
- Lydia Emmar
- Luba Sanda
- Saraya Samuel
- Comfort Habila
- Rejoice Shanki
- Gloria Yaga
- Mary Nkeki
- Moda Baba
- Hauwa Isuwa
- Patient Jacob
- Ladi Jajel
- Abigel Bukar
- Fanta Lawan
- Zainabu Yaga
- Aisha Lawan Zanna
- Dokas Yakubu
- Kabu Mala
- Maryama Bashir
- Hauwa M. Maina
- Mary G. Dauda
- Susana Yakubu
- Maryam Abbas
- Laraba John
- Hanatu Nuhu
- Na’ omi Bukar
- Rifkatu Galang