The #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group yesterday, remembered the 29 school boys who were killed by the Boko Haram sect in their dormitory at the Federal Government college, Buni Yadi, Yobe State in 2014 Federal Government College. Grief
In a press briefing, read by one of its leaders, Aisha Yesufu, stated that even as the group and Nigerians remembers the boys, there were still controversy over the actual number of students that were killed and urged the government to put the controversy to rest once and for all.
“How many boys were killed in Buni Yadi on the 25th of February, 2014? Was it 59 or 29? Less than 2 weeks ago during our #BBOGMonthlyMonitoring Initiative we explained the importance of government swiftly owning the narrative, dignifying citizens, and resting all speculations by publishing the names and identities of victims of attacks and/or of those rescued.
“The media promoted the news of killed in the Buni Yadi attacks. Considering that our movement sources information primarily from verifiable media outlets, last year we published 59 names collated from residents of Buni Yadi and the media. However, we have obtained from the school, 29 names as confirmed from the parents represented here,” she said.
She added that the grief of their families and friends were made worse by the poor response, especially the federal government and its line agency directly responsible for the management of the school, the Federal Ministry of Education.
“After the murder the relations of the deceased were not reached and consoled. They were allowed to grieve alone. It is unacceptable for ours to be a society that lacks humanity. This disaster was treated in such a perfunctory manner that for two years, the exact numbers and names of is uncertain, as the government did not publish the names, and identities.
“The relations were only half-heartedly contacted after our 1-year remembrance, last year. We find this unacceptable. The welfare of citizens is the primary duty of government.
“The pain of their gruesome death still pierces through the walls of our hearts. Words alone cannot capture the harrowing experience their parents and other relations have been subjected to. Our children, both boys and girls, must never be made to choose between staying alive and getting an education.
“It would be recalled that on 29 September 2013, the terrorists attacked and killed a reported 44 students of College of Agriculture, Gujba in Yobe state. Not much was done, hardly any lessons learnt which resulted in the attack on FGC Buni Yadi, within the same state. Not much was done, hardly any lessons learnt, the terrorists who hitherto attacked only boys got emboldened and abducted 276 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok on 14 April 2014,” she said.
She urged the government to consider it an opportune time for the federal government to set up trauma and grief counselling centres across the country, in view of the incalculable tragedies that have ravaged especially the Northeast region since the Boko Haram insurgency with attendant consequences.
“The government should account for, and ensure that the remaining schoolchildren, the teaching and non-teaching staff of the FGC Buni Yadi, are reabsorbed into other Unity Schools across Nigeria so they can continue their education in the short term,” she said.
While speaking during the event, one of the parents of the Buni Yadi Boys, Steven Dadinkowa lamented than the government had done nothing after the attack adding that some of the boys after the incident have dropped out from school.
“We appreciate the BBOG for observing this day. If you see what happened that day, you will know there are devils in this world. Nothing is left in the school. 29 were killed. Many injured. Government not showing concern on the issue. We only got condolence letter, sent to the parents, one from school authority and one from the government( the ministry of education). Most of the boys have become drop outs. We have been displaced. Many are in IDPs. We are appealing to NGO to help. Many have helped,” he said.
The group held a candle light procession for the girls which was attended by the some of the parents of the slain boys and the members of the Borno- Yobe Forum.