Posted by News Express | 22 May 2016 | 2,789 times
Officials of the Youth Vigilantes, popularly known as the Civilian JTF (CJTF), yesterday called on the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to redeem its 2014 pledge of N50 million reward to anyone with information that could lead to the rescue of abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
The call was made following the discovery of one of the girls, Amina Ali Nkeki, 19, by members of the group in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State on Tuesday.
Amina was found with a baby on the outskirts of a Boko Haram stronghold in the Sambisa Forest two years after the 276 schoolgirls were taken away from their dormitories in Government Girls Secondary School Chibok.
A total of 57 girls escaped their captors as they were being ferried to the Sambisa Forest in trucks.
After the abduction, the police announced the mouthwatering sum as reward for any help that could lead to their whereabouts.
In a statement, the then Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, urged “patriotic citizens” to provide “useful information” to the police through some dedicated phone numbers, promising to treat them with “utmost confidentiality.”
According to the statement, “The Nigeria Police hereby announce a cash reward of N50 million to anyone who volunteers credible information that will lead to the location and rescue of the female students abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.” “The Force urges all patriotic citizens with useful information to contact the following numbers: 09-2914649 08081777309 08055547536 08032125050 08034617591 08035969731. While calling on the general public to be part of the solution to the present security challenge, the Police High Command also reassures all citizens that any information given would be treated anonymously and with utmost confidentiality,” it added.
The whereabouts of the remaining 219 girls had remained an enigma, until Tuesday’s discovery of Amina alongside her four-month-old daughter.
Based on this, the legal adviser of the CJTF, Barrister Jibrin Gunda, told our correspondent in a telephone interview yesterday, that this is the time for the police authorities to fulfill the pledge in order to set a good precedence.
“We feel we should remind the police that the promise is sacred. There is no denying the fact that it is our gallant operatives, the youth vigilantes, who rescued Amina Ali from the hands of the Boko Haram.
“This feat is worth celebrating because the whole world, including the USA, Britain, France and other allies worked closely with the Nigerian security forces in order to locate the missing girls but to no avail. However, our boys, with just sticks and bows and arrows traced one of them.
“We are, therefore appealing to the Nigeria Police to fulfill its promise and release the N50 million,” he said.
Barrister Gunda, who described the CJTF as “unsung heroes” said they had paid their dues to deserve recognition from the federal government.
“Between 2013 and now, we have lost over 600 of our members to the Boko Haram. They died while confronting the miscreants.
“Many of those that died have wives, children and parents. They need to be supported,” he said.
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the CJTF in the federal government’s youth empowerment initiatives.
“I’m of the opinion that without the sacrifice and dedication of our youths, the fight against the Boko Haram would have been something else. It’s our youth that know the train and because of the fact that they were born and brought up around Borno, they easily identify Boko Haram insurgents.
“Similarly, in the course of the fight, they work closely with the Nigerian security forces. However, when it comes to sharing credits for bravery, our boys are more often forgotten,” he said.
Another official of the CJTF, who does not want to be named, said Amina was found after their personnel on stop-and-search duty at Talala checkpoint in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State, intercepted the father of her baby.
He said a thorough interrogation led to a check on his wife, who was later discovered to be one of the 219 missing Chibok girls.
“The Civilian JTF member, who recognised Amina Ali by just one look at her is from Baalle community. I won’t just tell his name until the promised reward is released,” he said.
However, when contacted over the pledge, the spokesperson of the police, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Olabisi Kolawole, said she was not aware of it.
•Adapted from a Daily Trust report. Photo shows Force PRO, ACP Olabisi Kolawole.
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