Church Thanksgiving Service held as 21 Chibok girls reunite with families

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The venue of the special Church’s thanksgiving was filled with emotion laden with tears and joy when parents reunited with 21 Chibok schoolgirls rescued from Boko Haram’s captivity

The church service was organised by the Nigerian government  for the schoolgirls who were released on Thursday.

Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed represented the government at the Church held at the Presidential Villa on Sunday.

Miss Gloria Dame, one of the girls who spoke on behalf of her colleagues was visibly happy and as she jumped for joy.

She said, “we stayed for one month without food’’.

The Chibok girls
The Chibok girls

“I narrowly escaped bomb blast in the forest. I never knew there would be a day like this.

“`I will give thanks to God ,’’ she said.

She begged Nigerians to pray for the quick release of the remaining girls in Boko Haram’s captivity.

Dr. Shiktra Kwali, who delivered the sermon at the thanksgiving service, told the girls that as they start a new life in freedom, they should not allow the experience of the past to weigh them down, and urged them to remain steadfast in serving the Lord, who has not forsaken them even in captivity.

Several ministers of God, including the President of the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), Reverend Joel Bilili, offered prayers for the girls.

A Chibok girl is reunited with her parents
A Chibok girl is reunited with her parents
Boundless joy: another-Chibok girl and her parents
Boundless joy: another Chibok girl and her parents

The high-point of the occasion was the reunion between the parents and their daughters.

Tears flowed freely as parents took turns to identify their daughters, while one woman simply carried her daughter on her back in happiness.

The ceremony ended with an identification parade, as each of the freed girls identified her parents who in turn made brief comments, with many of them praising President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring the safe release of the girls

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Information Minister Mohammed said that the reunification was a day the world had been waiting for.

“It is day of joy,’’ he said.

As government continues negotiation on the remaining girls, he appealed to the public against making unguarded statements that could truncate the rescue efforts.

Families of the girls left Chibok in Borno state on Friday and arrived in Abuja on Saturday night and were reunited with the girls at the Church on Sunday.

The parents saw the girls for the first time in over 900 days since they were abducted from their Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok.

No fewer than 276 of the girls were abducted and 57 escaped as they were being ferried away.

They were abducted by Boko Haram on 14th April, 2014.

Two buses conveyed the parents from Chibok.

-NAN

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