Adamu Jumbam, father of Aisha Adamu, one of the five Dapchi schoolgirls who died while in Boko Haram captivity, says his family feels cheated and dehumanized by the Nigerian government.
Jumbam described the news of his daughter’s death as shattering, saying: “It was my worst moment in life when I was told she died,” he said.
He described his late daughter, Aisha, as a bright 16-year-old in her fifth year (SS 2) in secondary school who wanted to become a scientist in the future.
“It was her friends who came back that informed us of her death. When I asked after her, they said ‘oh baba, your daughter Maidanwake (her pet name at home) lost her life on the way to the bush’ [sob…]. She was fasting when she died,” Jumbam said amid sobs.
“I was told that they died on the way, and the Boko Haram simply dug the ground and buried them. This confirms that I have lost her, so we the family have nothing more to do for her than to mourn her.
“From the 19th day of February when they were abducted and taken away to the day they were brought back, I have not been myself. But I give gratitude to God when I eventually found out that she is no more, what I was scared and prayed against had come to pass. I pray God comfort her soul and forgive her shortcomings.”
Particularly, Jumbam could not understand how “Boko Haram came into this community, picked our children without any one challenging them, and then brought them back on their own, dropped them in the town and then returned”.
“That development has really unsettled most of us here in Dapchi. Every right-thinking Nigerian should be disturbed by this development,” Jumbam told Premium Times.
“Anyway, we are villagers and may not have insight to the undercurrent of what has been going on in this country. But to say the least, we have been cheated and dehumanised.
“How can one come to terms with this, for God sake? That Boko Haram came into our community, took our children and kept them for a whole month, no one could say where they are, then returned them without any form of explanation.
“They brought these kids to Dapchi, dropped them in market area, spent about 30 minutes in the community, then turned their vehicles and left.
“None of our security agencies that have been surrounding this community since February 19 made any move to go after them.
“Everyone saw them drive back via the route through which they entered Dapchi. They even took their time to fix one of their vehicles before leaving. No single shot was fired against them. That was how soldiers watched and supervised their safe exit from Dapchi.
“We don’t know what was happening. But it seemed this government is only deceiving us or playing politics with the lives of our children.
“If they say Nigeria is no longer safe for us, that our security forces cannot protect us, then perhaps they should allow us to go to somewhere where the government cares about the security of its people.”
Lai Mohammed, Minister of information and Culture, had explained that the negotiations leading to the release of the girls involved a sort of ceasefire to enable the insurgents bring them back. That was the reason there was no confrontation between the insurgents and security operatives.
“Within the period when the girls were being brought back, operational pause was observed in certain areas to ensure free passage and also that lives were not lost,” Mohammed explained on Wednesday.
But Jumbam says he was not convinced by the explanation.
“Can anything be more surprising than this? How can you beat a situation where a thief came to steal your property, harm members of your household, then few days later, the same thief came with the stolen item, dropped it for you and left, while everyone was watching and almost applauding him?” he queried.
“These Boko Haram gunmen came back in broad daylight, confidently as though they were the ones in authority. What else could be more surprising than this?
“It is a clear sign that this country is gradually becoming a failed state where security is not guaranteed; where the government has to bury its shame and tell everyone to take his or her security into their own hands, because they can no longer protect us.”