Doubts over the identities of 21 Chibok “girls” reportedly released on Thursday persist in Nigeria and overseas, as the stories told by Nigerian government officials don’t seem to add up. Some suspect the women taken to Aso Rock could have come from IDP camps, especially as they were malnourished. Some say four Boko Haram commanders were swapped with the 21 women. And a Red Cross official has denied that the charity was involved in negotiations for the women’s release.
Before Thursday, it was said that the terrorists had agreed to swap the girls with their members in detention. Minister Lai Mohammed said no suspects were swapped with the girls. So, many ask, did Boko Haram give up the 21 women for nothing. Wasn’t even a ransom paid? Where are the remaining 180+ Chibok “girls” then?
One informed commentator who goes by the moniker “emmanuel” on social media queried: “1. Can WAEC please release the names of registered students of Chibok Secondary school?
“2. Can the useless so-called Federal Government of useless Nigeria allow these girls speak to independent media/journalists?
“Let the girls tell us where they have been, location and so on…who has been feeding them? etc etc ..
“It is only in Nigeria that people never ask questions. Months ago, one so-called Chibok girl was released and she was found with a man they called her Boko Haram husband. Where is the girl now? And where is that Boko Haram husband? They never spoke to the press nor to the public. The Northern politicians including Buhari suppressed the whole story and prevented these persons from speaking. Grapevine has it that the govt has bribed the family of that girl with some cool millions of naira and they have kept quiet. The same bribery is what will be done with the parents of these 21 girls and they and their girls will keep quiet.
“This is evil. Pure evil…and Nigerians are looking like lucozade.”
Another commentator (“POLITICS_of_Terrorism/Kidnapin “) expressed doubts thus: “Imagine a group of girls kidnapped by the politicians in the North all because they needed political power and after 2.5years they get the same girls released. Who is fooling whom? Where have these girls been living inside the forest? Which forest really? With no light, no water …and nobody ever saw them? And not even Nigerian military that can do house-to-house check in the Niger Delta looking for Avengers? This is a joke taken too far. If you ask me, I suspect these girls have all been kept at an Emir’s palace somewhere in the North and they have been feeding them there…knowing that no one or even the Army will ever suspect that these girls are locked up in a palace.”
But many were convinced the Chibok abductions of April 14, 2014, were real and that the women released were some of the victims. “Ikechukwu” commented: “If there is an agreement with BHaram and the Feds before the release of the girls, the Feds must keep to that agreement, so that the rest of the girls will be released unconditionally. Today is the beginning of more prayers for the release of the remaining girls, and for some of them that died in-between these 2 years, may they rest in perfect peace, amen.”
The controversy will not end even after the rest of the kidnap victims regain their freedom.
Meanwhile, it’s wrong to still refer to any of the freed captives as a girl. None of them is below 18 now.