Borno State Police Command yesterday introduced another controversy to the saga of missing Chibok schoolgirls, saying the total number of missing girls is unknown for now.
The parents of the missing girls had last week faulted the government figure as they insisted that over 230 of their daughters had not been found.
Addressing a news conference jointly hosted by the state director of the State Security Service (SSS), Ahmed Abdullahi, yesterday, the state police commissioner, Tanko Lawan, said the number of girls reported to be missing is 276 and could rise, while 53 of them had escaped so far.
Mr Lawan said the figures quoted were collated from various members of Chibok community and surrounding villages, noting that the figures are evolving, suggesting that the number could rise.
He said: “It is really difficult to say the actual number of girls that were abducted. This is because students from other secondary schools within the catchment area were deployed to GGSS, Chibok, to write their final year examinations due to the peculiar security challenges in Borno State.
“The students were drawn from schools in Izge, Lassa, Ashigashiya and Warabe A, and that is why after the unfortunate incident, there were various flying numbers as to the actual number of girls that were taken away,” he said.
The SSS director asked the public not misconstrue their figures as a contradiction of the ones earlier given.
“The fact is that the number may likely change, especially when parents from some of the villages come forth and report the disappearance of their daughters. Most importantly, it is not the number that matters because all the girls are very important and we have to find them”.
He said the various security agencies were collaborating at all levels towards rescuing the girls and called on parents and community leaders to submit names and identities of their missing daughters.
He further gave out telephone numbers so that parents and Nigerians can call and give useful information that will lead to the rescue of the girls.
The numbers are +2348075897377, +23481777309 and +2348036121490.