- Want slogan changed to #ReleaseOurGirlsNow
By Lawrence Olaoye
Concerned members of the House of Representatives, led by Rep Beni Lar, at the weekend joined the clamor for the release of the over 200 girls of the Federal Government College, Chibok, Borno state, kidnapped by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents.
Lar, who is also the Chairman House Committee on Human Rights, a a being at the weekend, however suggested that the slogan #Bring Back Our Girls be adjusted to #Release Our Girls Now.
According to her, the old slogan was exculpating to the Boko Haram which she considered the real aggressor and vindictive of the government.
The members who cut across the states of the federation also called on the federal government to put in place a mechanism to honour any of the Nigerian troops killed or maimed in the current counter-terrorism war, as it is done in America and other climes.
They said a situation where troops are awarded medals of honour, and adequate benefits paid to victims or the families would encourage personnel to do more in the current security challenges being faced by the nation.
The select group which met with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and other stakeholders over the weekend also tasked the Commission and the human rights community to do more in the discharge of their responsibilities, stating that the insurgents have no respect for the guaranteed rights of others and any law, and so should not be given full rights as expected.
“We should see the terrorists as the aggressors who have no respect for human rights and the laws. They have done so much damage to our psyche, creating suspicion and panic among Nigerians. They are operating like the Tuaregs in Mali, which took control of the northern part of the country for a period before the courageous army displaced them. We have to encourage our soldiers who are out there fighting for the unity of the country. They laid down their lives for all off us,” Lar stated.
Equally commenting in the spate of insecurity in the country with its attendant effect on the people, Plateau state Deputy Speaker, Mrs Ramnap Joyce, who spoke to newsmen at the conference lamented that casualties of the insurgents attacks are mostly women and children.
Ramnap said the recent bomb blast in Jos has left the people devastated by depriving the state of its real values as future generations of professionals were wasted.
While declaring the Boko Haram insurgents as the enemies of the people, the Plateau lawmaker urged the government, both at the state and federal levels, to institute a program of trauma management.
According to her, surviving victims and their relatives should be counseled by experts for them to be able to survive the psychological impact of their experiences.