Posted by News Express | 3 January 2015 | 3,727 times
Parents of about 270 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram militants in April 2014, are appealing to the United Nations (UN) to help return their daughters safely.
The embittered parents say they have lost faith in the Nigerian Government to help them rescue their daughters.
More than 50 girls have managed to escape but the fate of the others remains unknown.
The girls’ parents say they are still being kept in the dark about what the government is doing to return them and about what may have happened to their daughters.
In a bid to keep the issue alive and put pressure on the government, spokesmen of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign and some of the parents of the girls gathered in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Thursday January 1, 2015 to restate their resolve.
“The Chibok community is pained; we cannot take this anymore and this is 2015, we will do all that is in the books to demand action from this government until these girls are rescued. And that’s what we want to emphasise today, the first of January, 2015,” said Dauda Illiya, spokesman for the Chibok community in Abuja, ahead of the rally.
“This would involve the community writing the President Goodluck Jonathan. We will engage the U.N.; we will also write letters to the United Nations and protest this neglect and nonchalance by the government of the Federal Republic towards the Chibok people and the abducted girls,” Illiya said.
Anguished and frustrated, the parents and wider Chibok community are angry with the government for their statements that they know where the girls are held and view the inactivity, fleeing soldiers and frequent attacks as a form of “ethnic cleansing”.
“Really the way they (the government) are maltreating us, it looks like they are doing all this intentionally to provoke us or to just finish the people of Chibok completely. If the government cannot take action, we are asking the United Nations to come in and help us, or if the United Nations reject us, we just don’t know what to do,” Reverend Enoch Mark, the chairman of the parents’ group, told Reuters.
Two of his daughters were kidnapped.
The Bring Back Our Girls campaign intends to send a letter to the United Nations in the coming weeks.
The group says it has not been able to establish a communication link with the government for updates and has not been kept informed of progress in the search, which involved drone flights led by the United States in May and June.
“We are not saying they should compromise any security details; that may jeopardise the whole effort to bring back the girls. What we are asking for is that you cannot keep us in the dark,” the Bring Back Our Girls campaign spokeswoman, Bukky Sonibare, told Reuters.
The advocacy group is particularly fearful that once the February presidential elections take place there would be even less impetus to find the girls if President Goodluck Jonathan secures a second term, despite his insisting on the contrary.
In his New Year’s address, the president said: “We will bring justice to the savage terrorists known as Boko Haram. They will be defeated.”
When asked about the lack of communication with the affected families, presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, told Reuters by phone, “The efforts being made by the military to rescue the girls are purely security strategies which are not discussed openly.”
•Adapted from a Reuters report. File photo shows some of the parents of the abducted Chibok girls weeping during a rally.
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