7 times Buhari’s failed promises raised the hope of Chibok girls’ parents
96 Chibok girls are still missing and President Muhammadu Buhari has only 45 days left to fulfill his promises to Chibok girls’ parents.
One of the things that brought Muhammadu Buhari to power in 2015 was his perceived commitment to addressing insecurity and ensuring the release of 276 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in April 2014.
After assuming office, Buhari continued to assure Nigerians and the parents of the kidnapped schoolgirls that his government would secure the release of the girls.
Even when another 110 schoolgirls were abducted in February 2018, in Dapchi, Yobe State, Nigerians kept their hope alive, believing that the president with his military experience would bring an end to insurgency and bring the girls back home.
Sadly, the president has run his two terms of eight years and his time is running out. He has less than 50 days to leave Aso Rock while Chibok girls and other victims of insurgency remain missing.
Here are five times the president assured Nigerians that the victims would be rescued before the end of his administration.
March 18, 2015
10 days before the March 28 general election, Buhari boasting about his military experience, during a town hall meeting in Abuja, promised to defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity, secure the release of Chibok girls and reintegrate them with their families.
“As a father, I feel the pain of the victims of insurgency, kidnapping and violence. Under my watch, no force, external or internal, will occupy even an inch of Nigerian soil. I will give it all it takes to ensure that our girls kidnapped from Chibok are rescued and reintegrated with their families,” he promised.
April 13, 2019
Five years after Chibok girls were abducted from their school, Buhari assured their parents that he would rescue them from their captors.
The president in a statement issued by Garba Shehu said told the victims’ parents that he was “aware that the promise he made is the main reason the people of Chibok voted overwhelmingly for him in the February elections, and although his government has so far succeeded in bringing back 107 of the girls”.
He vowed not to rest “until the remaining are reunited with their families”.
November 27, 2017
When the president was reviewing the report on the rehabilitation and reintegration of the freed Chibok girls in November 2017, he renewed his commitment to secure the release of the remaining schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity.
Buhari also promised to use every means possible to bring back the remaining schoolgirls held by terrorists.
April 13, 2020
During COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the president thanked the people of Chibok for holding prayers and thanksgiving to mark the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping of their daughters by terrorists.
In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, his spokesperson, Buhari expressed hope that the armed forces on general operations in the northeast would rescue the girls and bring them back home.
He said, “The issue of the Chibok girls is not a forgotten issue. We cannot go to sleep over this matter. We are optimistic that ongoing efforts will yield something positive”.
March 23, 2018
Two days after Dapchi schoolgirls were returned by Boko Haram insurgents after spending one month in their den, Buhari again assured Chibok girls’ parents that their daughters would return soon.
He said, “While parents of the Dapchi girls rejoice because of the reunion with their children, I want to appeal to the Chibok Community never to lose hope or to despair.
“We are determined as never before, to bring back our remaining Chibok daughters. And this, we must accomplish. And that will be soon, by God’s grace.”
December 4, 2018
With the girls still missing, the president on Monday, December 4, 2018, reiterated his commitment to ensuring the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls.
While speaking during a bilateral meeting with Swiss president, Alain Berset, on the sidelines of the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poland, Buhari reiterated his commitment towards ensuring the return of the remaining girls.
‘’We will continue to make the safe release of the remaining Chibok girls a priority and will welcome any kind of support from any quarters to make this happen,’’ he said.
April 25, 2019
When the president paid a courtesy visit on the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Ibn El-Kanemi, in 2019, he assured Nigerians that his administration won’t give up efforts to secure the release of the girls.
“Boko Haram insurgents abducted the girls from Chibok and Dapchi in Yobe; unfortunately, some of these girls are still being held captive; we will not give up on them”, he said.
The president maintained that, as a parent, he shared the agony of every Nigerian whose loved ones are in the hands of abductors, adding that his government would do the needful to reunite the victims with their families.