From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin
The Coalition of Women Associations in Kwara (COWAS), has staged a peaceful protest in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, over the abduction of over 200 girls of Chibok Girls Secondary School, Borno state, by insurgents more than three weeks ago.
The women declared a three-day fasting and prayer session in respect of the 234 abducted students. The protesters went to Government House, Emir’s palace and other major streets in the state capital, which lasted for many hours.
The Coordinator of the Association, Alhaja Baliquees Oladimeji, while addressing the protesters at Government House and Emirs palace in Ilorin, called on government at all levels to do something about it, saying that they should not politicise the issue before the killing of those children.
“Our hearts bleed; we want everything to be done to ensure the safety of our children. As mothers, we know the pain that mothers of those children are going through; three weeks has past, our government has not being able to give us concrete information.
“On this issue of abduction, killing of innocent soul, bomb blast among others, we are having sleepless nights; who knows the next person?” she queried.
In his address, the Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed who was represented by Deputy Governor, Elder Peter Kishira said he appreciated the women for stepping out to show their concern as mothers.
The Governor said “with prayer and all government’s effort, we will bring back the abducted children safely”.
He said he lost his daughter in 1980, so, “I know what it takes to lose a child”.
The state Commissioner of Police, Ambrose Aisabor, who was at the rally to monitor the rally himself, said the Command would not stop them from protesting.
“We already know what is happening in the country and we cannot say because we are in Kwara state, we are not affected. One way or the other we are affected.
“Since you are insisting you want to go to the Government House and the Emir’s palace, we will allow you to go, but security agents will go along with you, because we don’t want your peaceful protest to be hijacked by hoodlums.
“We will allow you to go to those two places as this is not the time for anybody to be shouting up and down and fighting one another. It is a moment of sober reflection. No Nigerian is happy about it; the international community is not happy about it. Let all of us join hands together and continue to pray and do what is needful to ensure that these children are rescued.”, he stated.
The chairman of Kwara State chapter of the Nigerian bar Association (NBA),Mr. Bolaji Ojibara, while addressing the protesters, assured them that the bar are with the women struggle.
“I want to assure you that we will not relent in the struggle in ensuring that the abducted 234 daughters of Nigerians by the militants are released. We come to show to you this morning that we are with you. We will ensure that our sisters are brought back. We will ensure that our daughters are returned to use safe and alive.”