Chibok community holds cultural festival in Abuja, seeks return home

The Member representing Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency, Mr Ahmed Jaha, has called for deliberate efforts to return all Chibok people displaced by Boko Haram back home. Jaha said though Chibok and most parts of Borno are now safe from the activities of insurgents, a lot of people who fled the state have not returned. The lawmaker said this during the 2023 cultural festival organised by leaders of Chibok community in Abuja, under the aegis of Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA). Jaha said after more than a decade of displacement, it was time for the people to return home. He that the children born within the period and those that left their homes when they were so young, needed to internalise and diffuse the culture of their ancestral homes. He said that thousands of Chibok people had been living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in different parts of the country including FCT. According to him, Chibok people are still living in IDPs camps and taking refuge in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Nasarawa, among other cities. The lawmaker however commended the military, state and Federal governments for the restoration of peace in most parts of Borno, including Chibok. ‘The efforts of the government is highly commendable but we are human beings and the journey of 100 miles begins with a step. ‘Actually we have to commend the federal government for recovering some of the Chibok girls but we still have in captivity 87. ‘We are equally quite happy with the way and manner peace has returned to some part of Chibok, but we are still working tirelessly, begging and soliciting for the federal government to provide security where security personnel are not present,’ he added. Jaha said the cultural event was an opportunity for the children born and brought up outside Chibok, to learn and embrace their culture. Also, the Chairman, Chibok Local Government Area of Borno, Umar Ibrahim, commended the KADA leaders for their commitment to preserving their heritage. Ibrahim said Chibok people usually hold such event every Dec. 26, where those living outside who came home for holiday, witness the rich display of their culture. ‘It is not only to celebrate their culture but also to strength the unity that has been the bedrock of their stability over the years. ‘Today’s gathering will play a significant role in promoting and preserving our culture for generations to come. ‘The Chibok people are known for their resilience, hard work, bright attributes that resonate strongly with them. ‘Rest assured that at the local level, the interest of all sons and daughters of Chibok will remain our foremost priority,’ the council chairman said. The National President of KADA, Mr Dauda Iliya, said the cultural festival has been held since 2011 when terrorism took away the peace and tranquility in Chibok. ‘We are holding this event as a stop gap so that those born outside Chibok could see the details of our artifacts, our dance, our food and our culture,’ he said. Iliya expressed the hope that the 2024 celebration would take place in Chibok, considering the relative peace that had returned to the community. Nkeki Mutah, Chairman of KADA, Abuja branch, said the festival was organised to let their children know that they came from somewhere and as such should not forget their origin.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria