Posted by News Express | 1 May 2014 | 4,742 times
Firebrand former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday moved swiftly to the frontline of the protests over the fate of the over 200 adducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, leading a march to the National Assembly in Abuja to demand concrete action by government to free the girls.
Addressing a large crowd of women and their male collaborators before they set out from the Unity Fountain in front of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Ezekwesili gave the Goodluck Jonathan administration 24 hours to demonstrate its seriousness to rescue the girls or the protests would continue.
She said: “It is a shocking development that some of the 234 children are still unaccounted for.
“With the women that came out today, a symbol of the quality of mothers we have, who know what it means to have child, we are simply saying basically, bring back our girls. If a Nigerian girl is missing, it means all of us women are missing. This is not just another thing. The National Assembly has all the representatives of these children.
“We do not understand the pain the parents are going through, we are only supporting them to bear that pain.”
Addressing the protesters upon their return to the Unity Fountain, Ezekwesili, who wept with many other of the women, said: “It is necessary for us to register the pain and agony that we who are not even the biological mothers of the girls, are going through, which cannot be compared to what their mothers and families are passing through.
“Until our daughters are found and delivered home alive, we would not say it is successful, we want results which is a search and rescue operation, we want to see our daughters back home.
“If within 24 hours, we do not see anything concrete, visible action different from what we have seen so far, we will come back to protest here tomorrow at the same time if there is no clear message to the fact that our daughters have been found.”
Among the protesters were Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Mrs. Chammaine Pereira, Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi; Funmilayo Awomolo (SAN); Mrs. Saadatu Abdullahi Ibrahim; Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor; Hajia Halitta Aliyu; Mrs. Rakiya Sanusi and Mrs. Bintu el-Rufai; Mrs. Maryam Sanusi; Mrs. Asia el-Rufai; Mrs. Titi Atiku; Mrs. Kolo Kingibe; Mrs. Ireti Kingibe; Mrs. Saudatu Mahdi; Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman; Hajia Aisha Ismail; Mrs. Hauwa Shekarau; Hajia Asmau Joda; and Mrs. Amina Omoti. Men who joined in the protest included Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), Mallam Bashir Ibrahim Yusuf, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, and Dr. Jibo Ibrahim.
At the National Assembly, the protesters were addressed by Senate President David Mark, Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal and his deputy, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
“We are also angry at the situation and we feel the pain. We are working with security agencies to ensure that the girls are found. We need to treat the Boko Haram issue like we are in a state of war because that is what it is. And they are causing pains to all Nigerians,” the Senate President said.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over 200 women from various groups yesterday held a peaceful protest demanded the rescue of the abducted schoolgirls. Led by President, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Princess Adetona, the women wept profusely as they marched through the metropolis in torn dresses, carrying placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘Rescue our girls now’, ‘Enough of Abduction’, ‘No to Boko Haram’, ‘Federal Government, what are you doing?’, ‘We call for end to this abduction now’.
At the headquarters of the state police command, the women were received by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Indabbawa.
And in Kano, a group of civil society activists marched to the Government House, where they presented a letter of protest to Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso for onward delivery to President Goodluck Jonathan.
A report in Daily Trust said that presenting the letter, chairman of the Kano Civil Society Forum, Alhaji Bala Abdullahi, said government has shown no concern about the missing girls since they were taken 17 days ago.
“It is like no one cares about this, but we consider this as a national disaster,” he said, saying that government should seek for foreign help if Nigeria cannot rescue the girls.
One of the protesters, Hajiya Amina Hanga said: “We cannot rest till they come back.”
In his response, Kwankwaso said he will make sure the letter reached President Jonathan within 24 hours.
“I assure you that the letter will reach Mr. President within 24 hours. I am sure even if I do not give it to him he will look for it. We have to forget all our differences and address this issue more especially the one created by politicians,” the governor said.
•Photo shows the women, led by Ezekwesili, protesting in Abuja to demand concrete action to rescue the abducted schoolgirls.
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