It was a moving spectacle yesterday in Abuja.
Kids in red shirts, holding numbered placards on which the names of the Chibok schoolgirls are boldly written, marching on the Ministry of Education.
With them were some of the girls who escaped in the night of horror on April 14, last year when Boko Haram insurgents hussled the over 200 pupils off their dormitories into trucks and drove them away into captivity.
The world was horrified; it still is —one year after.
Parents of the Chibok Girls Secondary School, Borno State, girls yesterday said they were hoping President-elect Muhamadu Buhari would find their daughters.
Gen Buhari will take office on May 29 and one of the burning issues he will inherit from the outgoing Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration is the abduction.
Yesterday, there were activities in Abuja, Lagos and in some other major capitals across the world to mark the anniversary of the abduction which attracted worldwide outrage, especially when Boko Haram claimed responsibility and showed a video of the girls in captivity with sect leader Abubakar Shekau saying he would sell them off.
In Abuja, there were news conferences. In Lagos, Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka attended an event, where foremost economist Prof. Pat Utomi spoke.
A representative of the girls’ parents, Rev. Mark Enoch, declared yesterday their faith in Gen. Buhari and his ability to rescue the 219 girls alive.
He said things would be better because Gen. Buhari has the ability to destroy the Boko Haram sect like he destroyed the Maitasine Movement in 1984.
Rev. Enoch spoke on behalf of Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA), the umbrella body of the Chibok community in Abuja. His address was titled: “One year commemoration of the abduction of #Chibokgirls: the unending agony of a community.”
He said: “I know that as General Buhari is now the president-elect, things will be better. He can rescue our daughters, he can bring our daughters back home. He can end all the atrocities of the Boko Haram sect like he addressed the Maitasine movement in 1984 and our girls will return, so we the Chibok girls’ parents are excited.
“I will like to appreciate Madam Oby Ezekwesilli and members of the #BringBackOurGirls advocacy. They are the Mandelas of our time.”
KADA, in a statement signed by its National Secretary Battah Ndirpaya; National Publicity Secretary Dr. Manasseh Allen and Chairman KADA Abuja, Tsambido Hosea, said despite the gloomy picture of what is happening in their community before and after the abduction, they are still hopeful that the girls will come back home alive.
They said: “After the abduction, Chibok area was attacked six times with resultant high causalities, including 11 of the parents and guardians of the abducted girls. The people of Chibok are today haunted, displaced, traumatised and living in agony as refugees or internally displaced persons all over Nigeria and refugees beyond. There is also a looming famine in the Chibok (Kibaku) community and environs as a result of the terrorism that has virtually crippled farming activities. Wanton destruction of food stuff, granaries and livestock was perpetrated by the insurgents. There was also poisoning or destruction of water wells, the primary source of water for the community.
“Despite the gloomy picture of what is happening in the community, we are still hopeful that our girls will come back alive. We are hoping that Mr. President will keep his word by brining the girls back alive before leaving office on 29 May.. Even if he fails to achieve it, we are hopeful that the president-elect will bring back our girls alive.