The father of a missing Chibok schoolgirl who spoke privately to Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, rescued this week in remote northeastern Nigeria, said after hearing about her ordeal at the hands of Boko Haram he told her not to repeat the horrific story to other parents.
Yakubu Nkeki, whose daughter Maimuna was among the 219 girls abducted from a school in the town of Chibok more than two years ago, spoke to Amina on Thursday after the she met President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I called her ‘Kwadudu’,” he said, describing how Amina smiled and grabbed his hand as soon as she heard her pet name from childhood, which means ‘only daughter’. “She looked relieved.”
For an hour he listened to Amina, who was found on Tuesday by soldiers and vigilantes with her four-month-old baby, recall some of her experiences over the past two years, he said.
“She told me that she last saw my daughter about a year ago before the girls were separated,” said Nkeki who lives next door to Amina’s family in Mbalala village near Chibok.
Once he had heard her story, “I told her not to tell anybody some of the things she told me. I told her that she should stop talking,” he said.
But other parents from Chibok, whose daughters were abducted by Boko Haram’s Islamist militants in April 2014 said they were eager to hear more from Amina.
“I want to see her so that she can tell me about my daughter,” said Samuel Yaga, who a few years ago moved his family from Chibok to Banki, a town on the border with Cameroon, but left his daughter Sarah behind at school on the advice of a teacher who said her education should not be disrupted.
But the threat of Boko Haram violence forced him to move again, to a village on the outskirts of the capital Abuja.
“I want to know if my daughter is alive or not,” said Yaga, who plans to formally wed Rebecca, Sarah’s mother and his wife under customary law, at a church ceremony on Sunday.
Back in Chibok, the news of Amina’s rescue has given some parents hope of their own daughters being found, according to Yana Galang, the women’s leader of the parents association campaigning for the rescue of the girls.
“As long as we can get correct information from her (Amina’s) mouth, I think the government will do something about it,” said Yana, whose daughter Rifkatu, is among the missing.
“She can tell the true story about these girls.”
* Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani reported this for Thomson Reuters Foundation