100 Days After: Activists Hold Rally, Demand Release Of Chibok GirlsLatest News, News Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Scores of human rights activist held a rally in Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday to demand for the immediate release of over 200 secondary school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram 100 days ago.
The activists converged at the Alausa Garden, Ikeja, asking the Federal Government to intensify effort towards the release of the children.
Armed with placards, some of which read: “Punish the criminals,” “Fish out the beast,” “Stone age gone,” “Stop the killing,” “Chibok girls are human beings not numbers,” among others, various speakers decried that 100 days after, the Federal Government was yet to rescue the girls from their abductor.
Activist and former President Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Ayo Obe lamented that 100 days after, the girls were still being held in captivity, calling on the Federal Government to do everything possible to secure their release so that the trauma their parents and siblings were going through right now could abate.
Comrade Femi Aborishade, on his part said for the girls to still be in captivity 100 days after showed that the government had failed as it could not protect the lives of its citizens.
“It shows that there is governmental failure for the girls to still be held captive 100 days after. This is because under the United Nations Convention of Rights of the Child, it is the duty of the government to protect the child against abduction.
“Under the Nigerian Rights Act, there is a similar provision made. Under section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution, the welfare of the people shall be the responsibility of the government. This shows that the government has failed. If you fail to provide such rights to the people, you have lost the right to be in power, we call on Nigerians to demand performance from the government or the government should resign,” he stated.
Yoruba actor, Saheed Balogun said it was sad that the girls had not still been released, urging Nigerians to pry and believe that God would bring the children back.
A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Funmi Tejuosho said it was a bad omen that the children were still been held captive 100 days after, urging the Federal Government to wake up from its slumber and bring the girls back.
Convener of the rally and President, Women Arise Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin “we wish to register our keenness and undying desire to have the girls back. We have not lost steam in this regard, and we shall not until the innocent girls are brought home.
“We want to impress it on all Nigerians, across partisan divides, that this responsibility is a collective one. We should not even think of dumping this at the doorstep of security alone. We should be careful of tapping political mileage out of this crucial quest. Or, at least, the politicians could be left to play their
game while the rest of us bond to work from the points of reasonable pressure on government, the point of prayer, information and any other positive force we could bring to bear on this unfortunate situation.”
According to her, “in truth, all of us alive today, and free, are responsible for those hapless girls in captivity. There would be no partisan labels on the lashes of history. The eye of time would judge this generation, not this government alone. We were the ones who filed those girls on the school route. We, the parents, were the ones who told them it was the thing to do. If a culture which we approved for them, and even used the cane to entrench in them would be uprooted by savages, we, as parents must essentially see our roles in this, as cut-out for us as possible.
“We should mount pressure on government, yes, but we should also acknowledge the efforts of the troops. If we know nothing else, we are aware that some young soldiers we put in harm’s way in the North-East did not return alive. It would be most inhuman to keep the song of derision against this fighting force. The idea is not to lose more lives before we secure the release of these girls, yet, a soldier must do what he has to do. The least we could do is show compassion and appreciation for those who lay their lives on the line in the cause of freeing these girls.”
She said the government had a duty, also, to inform the generality of Nigerians in as much as they understood that some of the information sought could be classified, adding that there must be a way to update the people in a way that they were convinced that the work of securing their freedom was a priority.
She was of the opinion that it only served government to do its utmost best, because, apart from the girls themselves and their parents, it would appear that government stood to benefit most from their release.
“We, of this generation, could also breathe easier, and begin to face other tasks of nation-building from our little ends. But everything must stop for this. We cannot move on without the girls. This nation is stuck without those girls. This is how the government, too must see the situation.
“No election is complete without them. Nothing really happens until they return. We do not make these statements as ones who seek appointments or political leverage. We say these as women,mothers, Nigerians who would do whatever is required of us to have the girls back. We wish to know that which could be safely told us. We want to know the guiding policy towards their release operations. We have heard that they would be home soon. We want to hope strongly that it was not just a political statement,” she stated.
Okei-Odumakin stressed that those girls were not alone in captivity, and that it would not be very smart to consider it so, saying that “we are all captives in the long stretch. Whatever targets young girls essentially target the future of the land. Anything which disturbs or truncates the education of the young, already has a knife to the throat of that land.
“Every time we say bring back our girls, we are saying it to the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, because of the enormous powers reposed in his office. We say it to the security because of the trust and ability we invest in them. Most importantly, we say it to ourselves, because we are responsible for our generation and what happens in our time, under our watch. We are neither irresponsible in this nor helpless.”
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