Nigeria: Parents of missing Chibok girls visit TB Joshua for miracle
- 14 Apr 2019 --
For the fifth anniversary of the kidnappings, which sparked international outrage and a global #BringBackOurGirls campaign for the girls’ release, they chose to focus on supernatural assistance.
Earlier this month, representatives of the parents’ association travelled more than 48 hours by road from Chibok to Lagos, to meet popular televangelist TB Joshua.
He is the founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), and one of Nigeria’s most revered and influential preachers.
Thousands of people come from around the world to the SCOAN headquarters in the Ikotun district in Lagos to seek miracles and to witness prophecies.
“The reason why we chose to go and see him is that we have seen the work of the ministry of women affairs, the federal government and many other people, and till this time, there is no news about the girls in the bush,” said Yana Galang, one of the 12 parents who visited SCOAN and whose daughter Rifkatu is still in captivity.
“Nobody comes to us and tells us anything about the girls. That is why we decided to take this matter to God.”
Among those on the trip to Lagos was a guardian of Leah Sharibu, the 14-year-old who in February 2018 was taken by militants with more than 100 girls from another school – this one in the north-eastern town of Dapchi.
Some of the Dapchi girls died during their journey with Boko Haram while the rest were returned a month later following negotiations between the militants and the Nigerian government. But Leah was kept back because she refused to convert from Christianity to Islam.
Despite promises from the government concerning her release, she spent her 15th birthday in captivity. Both of her parents are now in poor health, so sent a close relative to represent them at the meeting with TB Joshua.
Garba Shehu, the spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari, told me efforts were still ongoing to secure the release all the hostages, but had been hampered by the fact that Boko Haram had splintered – with one faction taking a “hard-line attitude”.
Mr Nkeki agrees the government has “tried its best”.
“The military have tried their best and many have lost their lives while looking for our daughters or trying to protect us,” he says, but concedes that the parents, who are mainly Christian, need answers.
“We decided to come to TB Joshua because we have seen him on TV and we see how he works miracles and helps people. If it is our fault that these things are happening, let him pray for us.”
Of the more than 200 girls taken from their dormitory on 14 April 2014, 107 have been rescued or freed in negotiations between the Nigerian government and the Islamist militants, while more than 100 remain missing.