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The traumatised mothers of the school girls abducted students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, yesterday wept profusely before United States Congressman Louie Gohmert, in Lagos, urging him to prevail on his government and indeed the world to urgently rescue their children.
They also pleaded with Gohmert to prevail on his government to seek an end to the reign of terror in the country.
The US Congressman, who condemned the evil being perpetrated by the insurgents as unacceptable, encouraged the agonised women not to give up hope on their children, expressing the hope that the US would prove to Nigeria to be a friend indeed in the circumstances.
Gohmert was in the country on the invitation of the founder of Omoluabi Network, a non-governmental organisation, Pastor Ladi Thompson, in conjunction with Chibok-based Gabassawa Women led by Kusheli Balami, and the Erica Grieve-led Unlikely Heroes, based in Los Angeles, California.
Thompson emphasised that his organisation decided to invite Gohmert, into the country to feel the plight of the mothers and appeal to the US government to help Nigeria in this dark hour.
“Unless the federal government and indeed, the world quickly separate religion from the work of the devil that is casting darkness over the country, Nigeria may cease to be in the next 18 months,” he said.
Gloom descended on the gathering when Balami fought tears while begging the US Congressman to pressurise his country “and the entire world to come to the aid of the abducted girls, their mother and our terrorised country.”
The mothers, who wore mostly black attires, were moved into spontaneous tears.
The gathering was overwhelmed with bitter emotions when one of them, Esther Yakubu, recounted her nightmares since April 14, when the insurgents seized her only child.
“They broke into the school’s premises with a rocket launcher. I passed through there into the premises. They set everything on fire. I got to the hostel; it was empty. It was at that point that it dawned on me that they had kidnapped my first baby. Then, I asked God repeatedly: “Why me … why me?” She could not continue with reeling off her agony as she broke down in tears, begging government and all concerned people of the world to rise to the situation and recover their children.
Another traumatised mother, Ruth Bitris, who spoke through a pastor resident in Chibok, Philip Madu, said she had occasions to weep until she could no longer walk before Thompson and his co-caregivers came to bring them to Lagos for therapy.
“I cannot explain what has kept me alive this far since the devil’s agent invaded our children’s school, carting them away. Before then, we had lived together as our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Our religious beliefs never meant anything to us. No one knows what these people (the insurgents) want. They just came and seized our joy. We are begging government to see to this situation. We are helpless; we are as good as dead for now,” she said.
Mrs Monica Sitover who spoke after Bitris caused a stir when, after about two minutes, she suddenly landed on the floor, rolling as she urged God and her fellow human beings to ensure that her child is rescued and brought back to her in sound health.
Rising to her feet, she said: “When I was told that our girls had been packed away by the gunmen, I lost control of myself. That I am still breathing today is by the grace of God; It is a miracle. For two days, I was roaming the bush to see if I could set my eyes on my child.
“I am in pains; we are in real trouble. I am pleading with the world to help us find our children and bring peace back into our community and our country … (she broke down in tears, leaving virtually everyone with the task of consoling her).
Congressman Gohmert took time off to hug and shake hands with some of the mothers, urging them to take heart and assured them that their children would be found and brought back to them. He also encouraged the three veiled schoolgirls who were said to have escaped from their abductors in the Sambisa forest.
“The hate, the callousness of the terrorists, their willingness to kill fellow human being and the abduction of the innocent girls are condemnable in the least. It is an evil that must stop. The evil being inflicted by Boko Haram is unacceptable. I have come here with a message of hope. I hope the US will prove to be the friend they are to Nigeria and be part of efforts to find solution to this problem.
“The federal government in Nigeria must realise the fact that Christians and Muslims have, over the years, been living together without any problem. It must realise the gravity of the pains that the Boko Haram has inflicted on Nigerians and stop them forthwith,” Gohmert added.
Likening the ordeal of the abducted girls to that of the Biblical Joseph, the congressman expressed the hope that the girls would be brought back safely to re-unite with their parents.