Coming on the heels of the abduction of about 234 female students at the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State women yesterday arose in unison to demand the unconditional release of the girls, more than a week after they were seized from their hostels and taken to unknown location.
The concerned women in Borno – BAOBAB for Women Rights – demanded that the insurgents should unconditionally release the girls if they truly believe in God, on whose behalf they erroneously claim to be fighting for.
Prof. Hauwa Biu, spokesperson for the group, while addressing a press conference in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said that the abduction was a violation of the girls’ human rights and crime against humanity.
“Women in Borno are calling on the insurgents to please release all the girls in their custody without harming them”, she said.
Prof. Biu also pleaded with the insurgents to lay down their arms and embrace the dialogue option proposed by government.
“We assure them of our motherly support toward rehabilitating them when the need arises”, she said.
After the abduction of the girls on April 15, many of their parents hit the road on a fruitless journey to the Sambisa forest near the border with Cameroon where they are believed to have been taken to by their captors, accompanied by members of the Civilian JTF.
“We are ready to embark on another search in the forest with the parents of the abducted girls if we can have enough security backing”, Mrs. Biu said, adding that “Our target is not to fight the abductors but we want to beg them to release the girls in the name of the God that we all worship”.
Mrs. Biu called on security agents to use sophisticated weapons in detecting the location of the abductors even as she strongly condemned other violent campaigns by the insurgents especially in recent times.
“Women in Borno also condemn violent attacks on schools which deny children their rights to learn in safe environment, thereby jeopardising their future.
“We commend the efforts of Borno and Federal Governments as well as youths/ vigilantes in addressing the current insurgency in the country.
“However, bearing in mind the continuous attacks on schools, we appeal for the provision of adequate security to all schools so as to have a safe learning environment for our children”.