Dapchi abduction: Schoolgirls undergo surgeries, others awaits operations - 9IJA TALKS

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Dapchi abduction: Schoolgirls undergo surgeries, others awaits operations


The joys of some parents of the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls after their release by their abductors seem short-lived as some of them have just undergone surgeries to address some medical conditions, writes JUSTIN TYOPUUSU
Falmata Audu, one among the 110 schoolgirls abducted at the Government Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018, desires to be a lawyer. But for now, the dream remains a mere wish as she is recuperating from a surgery she had a few weeks ago following a fracture on her leg during the mass kidnap by the terror group, Boko Haram.
Seventeen-year-old Audu, who was in SS1 when Boko Haram invaded the school and abducted some of them, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the chances of her fulfilling her dream appeared bleak. She, however, expressed the hope that one day her dream would come true.

Audu said, “I didn’t really notice that I had a fracture on my leg while on a journey into the desert. I was more concerned about my younger sister who was screaming and wailing all through the journey.”
Audu’s younger sister, who was registered in the school as a JSS1 student, had barely spent two days in the school when the girls were abducted.
According to her, during the journey, she noticed a drum laden with armoury resting on her tiny legs but the thought of where they were going and what would happen next engaged her mind until the truck conveying them pulled over.
She told our correspondent that she only realised she couldn’t walk on her own when a metal box containing the weapons was lifted off her legs after the vehicle stopped.
Audu stated, “I nursed the wounds on my foot for months with a good medical attention after we were returned home by Boko Haram and I felt they had healed somehow. Later, help came from a doctor whose hospital did a correction surgery on my leg.
“I still hope I will one day defend my clients especially the less privileged in court after training as a lawyer and I pray to God to give me the opportunity to stand against injustice.”
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the story of Audu, with a fracture on her right leg, was similar to that of Miss Aisha Bukar who sustained a fracture on her left distal tibia (ankle) and Fatima Muhammed with a left hip injury with osteoarthritis. The surgeries on the three schoolgirls were carried out by Smile Mission Health Care, an initiative of Dr. Saleh Abba.
Abba told our correspondent that his support to the girls was borne out of his determination to serve humanity.
He said, “My profession as a medical doctor implores me to help humanity. I worked in Maiduguri as a medical emergency officer at the NAF base at the height of insurgency. Most times, victims of attacks couldn’t access or afford health care services after losing their means of livelihood and bread winners. That situation motivated me to think of how to help victims of attacks.
“I have been following the development of Dapchi abduction from the night of the unfortunate event on February 19, 2018, and what I have discovered is abandonment of the girls and their parents.”
Abba told our correspondent that open reduction and internal fixation (surgery to fix broken bones) were carried out on three of the schoolgirls who also suffered Osteoarthritis. He added that the girls had since stabilised and discharged after the medical exercise carried out in partnership with the Federal Medical Centre, Nguru, Yobe State.
“Audu is now on physiotherapy and follow up. The other two had their evaluations completed. One with ankle fracture is currently on treatment while the other had hip injury, which they sustained during the heartrending incident.
“This is not all as almost all the girls, including some of their parents, need psychosocial support that has not come eight months after the event,” the doctor said.
Abba noted that what he was offering to the girls was not enough as they would need adequate psychosocial support in order not to become a nuisance to the society.
He called on the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to come to the aid of the girls many of whom, he said, had refused to return to school.
The doctor added, “We have treated only three of the girls. Four have undertaken assessment and will be operated on when the resources are available. The thing is we need to do more.
“It doesn’t end at inviting the girls and their parents to Aso Rock Villa and then abandoning them after the world has seen them in the Villa, thinking that government has responded to their plight.
“It is also unfortunate that some of the parents, who lost their children, have yet to be condoled by any official, be it from the state or Federal Government.”
Also, the Vice-Principal (Administration) at the Government Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Mallam Aliyu Musa, said many of the girls were injured in a stampede during the terrorists’ invasion of the school in February.
Musa stated, “Most the girls sustained injures while trying to jump (over) the fence. Many of the girls had wounds for months before Dr. Abba’s Smile Health Mission Centre came to their rescue.”
He further said the population in the school, which used to be 900, was now barely 307 pupils who came to the school in the first term.
“The truth is that among the abducted schoolgirls, only 14 are in the school now–13  are in SS3 for their examination while only one is in junior class,” he stated.
Musa, who disclosed that most of the girls didn’t return to the school for lack of funds coupled with the psychological trauma of the incident, appealed to the federal and state governments to assist the girls.
According to him, lack of support from the government is making things difficult for the girls and their parents.

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