Lawyer with the National Human Rights Commission and wife of a judge in Borno State judiciary, Aisha Wakil, who was recently declared wanted by the Nigerian Army, had an interview with Premiumtimes where she said the involvement of the wife of the US President, Michelle Obama in the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign frustrated the rescue of the abducted Chibok school girls.
Excerpts from the interview below
What do you think is the prospect of rescuing the rest of the Chibok girls?
Assuming I had clue that they were going to kidnap the girls, I would have been in Chibok sleeping. Then I would have been in that hall and everybody would be kidnapped. I didn’t know about it. When I heard about it, I told the government to calm down. They should keep quiet. I was able to pass the message across. I said ‘please start releasing them’. It did not take time before some of the girls were released. So by the time I knew it, the whole thing was in the media. Boko Haram now called me and said mama we are no more releasing. The Chibok girls have become diamond and gold. I asked why? They said even Obama’s wife is carrying ‘Bring Back Our Girls’. They now knew that they are very important as the whole attention was focused on them.
After that I became really disturbed. I started tracing them in the bush to see whether I could get to where the girls were. I slept in the bush. Then later they told me where to come and pick 50 of them. I was heading there with Dr. Steven Davis and one general. We slept in that bush. So by the time we got there, civilian JTF alerted them in the bush and was chasing them in the bush and they now took off. I went there with the ambulance. They called me in front of the general and requested that I should come to a certain location the following day and pick 50 girls. They said we should have 14 ambulance buses on standby. I said ‘okay’. They also told me to come with shai which means tea with milk and put plenty sugar. This is because some of the girls were very weak and one with a broken hand.
So Dr. Davies and that high-ranking general now decided to go with University of Maiduguri vans and some doctors and nurses. They warned me never to come with a military and if I do they would slaughter me in front of the military.
So we were making the preparation. The general with us received a message on his telephone: “Chibok girls sighted.” So we rushed. By the time we got there civilian JTF had seen them and gave them a hot chase.
By the time we got there they had driven them too far. I was calling on the telephone but their lines were switched off. It was later in the night I got them and they asked me: mama what happened? Did you tell anyone? I said ‘no I did not’. Civilian JTF chased them and there was a massacre.
They killed so many of them —up to 400— that time. We lost them, We slept in that bush with the military and commander of the military know me and everything. They were so happy that I could take this risk.
Early morning, they called me and asked ‘mama where are you?’ I said ‘I am somewhere’. They now said the roads were dangerous that we should pass through Monguno on our way back to Maiduguri. That was how we lost that one. If they had not chased them. If they had not sighted them we could have just finished this thing. Those 50 girls would have been in our custody. everything would have been over by now.
So in your opinion, President Obasanjo’s comment that the girls could not longer be rescued was greatly exaggerated?
Yes. It was exaggerated. When he made that statement, they called me. You know they read everything —they read a lot. They go on the Internet and read a lot of things. They called me and said mama go to the newspapers. Tell them they are alive. I said why don’t you come so that two of us will say that they are alive? He said ‘no mama. Please do this. Nigeria will curse us. So I now came out in the newspaper and narrated story saying they are alive. Nobody believed it. Now I kept on pushing them. What they want is proof of life. So when we get there, I will cross the bridge of showing the proof of life. So it is very easy, What are they doing with them? Even though they are married come out with your wives we will settle you.