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Published On: Tue, Jul 22nd, 2014

Women, youth converge at Unity Fountain against ‘non-release’ of Chibok girls’

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Women, youth converge at Unity Fountain against ‘non-release’ of Chibok girls’By Stanley Onyekwere

As it marked 100th days since the abduction of over 200 Chibok school from their school in Borno state, hundreds of women and youth from different Non-Governmental Oganisations (NGOs) in the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday gathered at the Abuja Unity Fountain to reiterate call for their unconditional release by their captors.

They gathered at the Fountain near Transcorp Hilton Hotel, in the nation’s capital, as early as 7.am and held prayers sessions in the country’s two major religions, for the immediate release of the girls; just as they used the occasion to talk about girl child educationand its importance to the society.

Prior to their gathering yesterday, the National Council of Women Society (NCWS) held a night vigil the Unity Fountain, to pray for the release of Chibok schoolgirls abducted more than three months ago.

Also, the much awaited meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and parents of the Chibok girls still in the camp of the Boko Haram, alongside 51 of the girls who escaped from the terrorist group held yesterday at the presidential villa amid tight security.

Coordinator of the coalition of the women and youths groups in FCT,  Raph Sekibo Horsfall, said the essence of the rally was to for better education for Nigerian girls and women as well as the release of the young Chibok girls that were abducted 100 days ago.

According to him; “Our message to Boko haram is that they should release our girls to us; release the Nigerian women to us; release our mothers to us; release the future mother of our unborn children and generations to come.

“They are our future, and we believe in them; we love them; we want them back home. That’s what we are asking for.”

On why they had to wait until about 100 days of the abduction of the girls, he said it is not about how long the girls have been in the hands of their captors, but how they would be freed, adding that they will continue to demand for the girls freedom until they are released by their captors.

Similarly, Representative of Gbagyi women in FCT, Mrs. Celina Gaza, said that it pains her that the insurgents are still keeping these girls (Chibok girls) in bondage, not only for days, but months; a situation she described as is uncalled for.

She reiterated that the Boko haram should release the girls, so that they can have their lives back, in order for them to be reunited with their loved ones and   go back to school.

“I feel sad, because for them ( Boko Haram to separate them (the Chibok girls) from their mothers, fathers, brothers, sister and so on; they are not going to school, as they are like prisoners.

“It is high time for them ( Boko haram) to release our girls, so that they can come back to their families; but nevertheless we would  continue praying for God’s intervention in our churches and mosques unti will we see these girls released.

“Let the insurgents not be saying that Boko is Haram (Western education is an abomination), but rather that education is light, not an abomination.

“We have been coming here (Unity fountain) crying and praying to God, that He should touch these people (Boko Haram) to release our girls,  that’s why need to demand that they (Insurgents) should release them,” she expressed.

It would be recalled that for the first time since the abduction of the schoolgirls, Jonathan had promised to meet with their parents on Tuesday.

On her part, the National President of Kasuwa da Kasuwa, a women mobilization group, Hajiya Halimatu Jumare, said the situation has gotten to a stage to plead with the leader of the Boko haram to allow these girls to return home; to go and see their families.

She expressed fears over what might have been happening to the girls, saying if the leader of Boko Haram calls himself a Muslim, what he is doing is un-Islamic, as “you can’t even kidnap a children that is not your own, and take to the bush or desert to marry off.

“We are coming out to continue praying for our Chibok girls, but I’m in pains, and so is every mother, as we don’t know what the girls are through in the captors camp; whether they are being raped, into sex slavery, we are all confused,” she laments.

It would be recalled that exactly 92 days after the abduction of schoolgirls, Jonathan had promised to meet with their parents, when he played host to 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl-child education advocate.

Meanwhile,it was gathered that school principal and parents of the missing girls got to the venue with some of them looking devastated by the situation they found themselves in.

The President met with them in a closed door alongside the governor of Borno and Bauchi States, Senate President, ministers of education, Finance, information and other key officials, including security personnel.

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