Letter from Africa: Why Chibok mother and father turning to TV ‘miracle’ pastor to seek out daughters

Bintu Bitrus, the mother of Godiya, one of the missing Chibok schoolgirls, weeps as she raises her hands along with other parents to pray for the release of their daughters kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists, during a worship service to mark the fourth anniversay of the kidnapping at Chibok Town, Borno State, on April 14, 2018Picture copyright

In our collection of letters from African journalists, Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani says mother and father of the lacking Chibok women stay determined 5 years after their daughters’ kidnapping.

The mother and father of the Chibok women are anxious that an unseen drive, past Boko Haram, could possibly be behind the troubles they’ve skilled previously 5 years since their daughters have been stolen from college in north-eastern Nigeria.

Of the greater than 200 women taken from their dormitory on 14 April 2014, 107 have been rescued or freed in negotiations between the Nigerian authorities and the Islamist militants, whereas greater than 100 stay lacking.

“One thing is pursuing us in someway,” stated Yakubu Nkeki, the chairman of the affiliation of fogeys of the kidnapped women and whose niece was among the many final batch of ladies launched in Might 2017.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

The specter of Boko Haram remains to be very actual to the individuals of Chibok”

Mr Nkeki has a listing of tribulations to again up his suspicions.

In April final yr, mother and father of a few of the freed women have been concerned in a ghastly motor accident. They’d been travelling collectively to a gathering at a college in Yola, the place their daughters are enrolled in a particular course sponsored by the federal government. One dad or mum died on the spot whereas 17 others have been taken to hospital on account of their accidents.

In January this yr, 18 siblings of a few of the nonetheless lacking Chibok women, whose training is being sponsored by an area charity, have been returning to high school when the employed automobile wherein they have been travelling had an accident. Eight of the kids sustained extreme accidents. Additionally severely injured was Zannah Lawan, the secretary of the mother and father’ affiliation, who was escorting the scholars to high school.

Rising rancour

Weeks later, in March, the injured youngsters have been able to return to their research. Mr Nkeki accompanied them to high school, dropped them off, and set out for residence. The employed automotive wherein he was travelling had an accident.

“The automotive somersaulted however I used to be not injured,” he stated, however added, “These items occurring should not odd.”

Yana Galang, the mother of Rifkatu Galang, one of the abducted Chibok girls, holds a phone with a picture of her daughter during an interview in Lagos on 5 April 2016Picture copyright

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Rifkatu Galang, kidnapped at age 17 from the varsity in Chibok, stays in captivity

Yana Galang


No one involves us and tells us something concerning the women”

A complete of 34 members of the mother and father’ affiliation have died between when their daughters have been kidnapped and now, from accidents, sickness, and extra Boko Haram assaults.

Mr Nkeki can be anxious by the growing rancour inside the affiliation. Conferences usually finish in quarrels, with mother and father making an attempt to beat one another up and having to be bodily separated.

Final yr, some mother and father of the lacking women threatened to blockade the convoy of buses taking the freed women again to Yola, to the American College of Nigeria, after their summer time vacation. They felt that the ladies’ launch and faculty attendance had taken away the main focus from their daughters nonetheless in captivity.

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Extra on Chibok kidnappings:

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“I do not like to ask all of them on the identical time to conferences,” Mr Nkeki stated. “I generally choose few individuals that may pay attention very nicely and cross the message to them to allow them to cross on the message to others.”

In the meantime, the specter of Boko Haram remains to be very actual to the individuals of Chibok – the place a mixture of Christians and Muslims reside – regardless of the success of the navy in recapturing territory from the militants. Previously weeks alone, Boko Haram has razed to the bottom seven villages within the space and destroyed scores of properties, together with these of a few of the freed women finding out on the college in Yola.

Three teenagers who escaped a Boko Haram mass kidnapping in the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok last year are seen at the American University of Nigeria, in the Adamawa state capital, Yola, Nigeria - 8 May 2015Picture copyright

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A few of these launched are doing particular programs on the American College of Nigeria in Yola

“What’s going on in Chibok is so horrible,” Mr Nkeki stated. “Most of the individuals are not of their properties.”

The Chibok mother and father now view their daughters’ abduction as only one in a collection of unlucky occasions unleashed on their individuals and neighborhood.

Searching for miracles

For the fifth anniversary of the kidnappings, which sparked worldwide outrage and a worldwide #BringBackOurGirls marketing campaign for the ladies’ launch, they selected to deal with supernatural help.

T B JoshuaPicture copyright
Getty Photos

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TB Joshua is a massively in style televangelist

Earlier this month, representatives of the mother and father’ affiliation travelled greater than 48 hours by highway from Chibok to Lagos, to satisfy in style televangelist TB Joshua.

He’s the founding father of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), and one in all Nigeria’s most revered and influential preachers.

1000’s of individuals come from around the globe to the SCOAN headquarters within the Ikotun district in Lagos to hunt miracles and to witness prophecies.

Yakubu Nkeki


We determined to return to TB Joshua as a result of we’ve seen him on TV and we see how he works miracles”

“The rationale why we selected to go and see him is that we’ve seen the work of the ministry of ladies affairs, the federal authorities and plenty of different individuals, and until this time, there is no such thing as a information concerning the women within the bush,” stated Yana Galang, one of many 12 mother and father who visited SCOAN and whose daughter Rifkatu remains to be in captivity.

“No one involves us and tells us something concerning the women. That’s the reason we determined to take this matter to God.”


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Amongst these on the journey to Lagos was a guardian of Leah Sharibu, the 14-year-old who in February 2018 was taken by militants with greater than 100 women from one other college – this one within the north-eastern city of Dapchi.

Among the Dapchi women died throughout their journey with Boko Haram whereas the remaining have been returned a month later following negotiations between the militants and the Nigerian authorities. However Leah was stored again as a result of she refused to transform from Christianity to Islam.

Regardless of guarantees from the federal government regarding her launch, she spent her 15th birthday in captivity. Each of her mother and father at the moment are unwell, so despatched an in depth relative to signify them on the assembly with TB Joshua.

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Boko Haram at a look:

A screengrab taken on 13 July 2014 from a video released by Boko Haram and obtained by AFP shows the leader Abubakar Shekau (C)Picture copyright

Based in 2002, initially centered on opposing Western-style training
Launches navy operations in 2009, happening to grab a big space the place it declares a caliphate
1000’s killed, lots of kidnapped, together with schoolgirls, and two million displaced
Joins the Islamic State group in 2015, calling itself IS’s “West African province”
Splits into two factions after disagreements inside its management emerge in August 2016
The navy has retaken most territory over final 4 years, however the militants are nonetheless energetic

Learn extra:

Have the militants been defeated?
Midwife murders reveal brutal techniques

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Garba Shehu, spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari, instructed me efforts have been nonetheless ongoing to safe the discharge all of the hostages, however had been hampered by the truth that Boko Haram had splintered – with one faction taking a “hard-line perspective”.

Mr Nkeki agrees the federal government has “tried its greatest”.

“The navy have tried their greatest and plenty of have misplaced their lives whereas searching for our daughters or attempting to guard us,” he says, however concedes that the mother and father, who’re primarily Christian, want solutions.

“We determined to return to TB Joshua as a result of we’ve seen him on TV and we see how he works miracles and helps individuals. Whether it is our fault that this stuff are occurring, let him pray for us.”

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Extra Letters from Africa

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