The Presidency has released a statement on the video making the rounds where some aid workers, abducted by Boko Haram were pleading for their release
On Wednesday, Boko Haram released a video showing 6 aid workers with Action Against Hunger, abducted by the terrorist sect.
In the video, one of the aid workers, who identified herself as Grace appealed to the federal government and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to assist in securing her release.
According to Premium Times, Grace also said that Leah Sharibu, one of the secondary school students kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe state has been killed, as well as other women, because Nigeria did not “do anything about them.”
Leah is among the 110 Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram. She was the only schoolgirl who was not released by the terrorists after the Federal Government negotiated the release of others. She was said to have refused to denounce her Christian faith.
Reacting to the video, Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari‘s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity said:
The Presidency has been briefed by the responsible government agency about the disturbing video showing our citizens, the humanitarian aid workers held captive.
Presidency has been given assurances that contact is being made and the captors are being talked to.
Beside these aid workers, there are some others about whom this engagement is about-Leah Sharibu, a religious leader and all the others. These discussions have been ongoing even before this time and what this latest incident has done is to bring urgency to the efforts that the secret service is making.
Government is making contacts, in the hope that the captors will see reason to not visit hardship or even harm on these innocent individuals.
See full transcript of Grace’s statement below:
“My name is Grace, I work with Action Against Hunger an NGO in Borno state. My base is Damasak. We went to work on Thursday the 18th of July 2019 outside Damasak.
“On our way going back to Damasak, by Kinnari Chamba ward in Damasak we were caught by this army called the Khalifa. They brought us here and actually we don’t know where we are. But this minute, this moment I want to beg on my Christian Association of Nigeria because I am the only Christian amongst six of us here.
“I want to beg that CAN should do something about me to see how I can be released. I also want to beg Action Against Hunger in Borno State that we are six here and all of us are staffs, we went to work on our way coming back to our base that was when we were caught. I beg Action Against Hunger to know that we have families, some of us have children and I am begging Action Against Hunger that they should do something to release us.
“I also want to call on Nigeria that we are Nigerians; we are also working for Nigeria . I beg that the Nigerian government should please, and please, I am begging; do something to see that we are released because this has occurred before to this organisation, RED CROSS where some ladies were caught, Hauwa and Kabura there were told to ask to be released but because Nigeria did not act they were killed.
“I am begging on behalf of all of us here that please Nigeria should not allow such to happen to us. And it also happen again with Leah and Alice – because Nigeria could not do anything about them they were not release; they were also killed. I beg that Nigeria and our organisation Action Against Hunger should do something and see that we are released. Thank you.”
Action Against Hunger, the NGO where Grace and the other victims worked has released a statement confirming the authenticity of the video:
“A video released on Wednesday, July 24 in the evening shows the female Action Against Hunger staff member alongside five companions (drivers and health workers engaged in a humanitarian program run by Action Against Hunger in Damasak region, Borno State) apparently in good health condition.
“Action Against Hunger strongly requests that our staff member and her companions be released.
“They are humanitarians and health workers and they chose to dedicate their lives to support the most vulnerable communities in Nigeria. They were only in pursuit of solidarity, humanity and neutrality.
“Their abduction fully contradicts International Humanitarian Law and internationally recognized standards for the protection of humanitarian workers and organizations.
“All Action Against Hunger teams and staff express their full support and comfort to our colleague and to her companions who are being detained, as well as to their families and friends.
“Action Against Hunger will not make any comments or give any feedback to media queries related to this subject except through formal and written statement.
“Action Against Hunger acknowledges the media for their understanding in the treatment of this difficult situation.
“On Thursday 18 July, 2019, a convoy of vehicles was attacked on the road to Damasak, Borno state, Nigeria.
“One of the drivers was killed, while one Action Against Hunger staff member, two of the drivers and three health workers are missing.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these are colleagues dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the north east of Nigeria. We are very concerned and want to ensure that they are safe and can be reunited with their families.
“Action Against Hunger strives to ensure that millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in north east Nigeria receive the essential services required for their survival, especially women and children.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family of our driver and we extend our support to the family of our missing colleagues as well as others affected by this incident.
“We appeal to the media and the public to desist from circulating unverified information about the situation above.”