Human rights activist and Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has advised the Federal Government not to play politics with the lives of the abducted Chibok girls.
Falana, in a statement titled “How not to search for Chibok girls”, yesterday in Lagos, lampooned ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for making what he described as unguarded statements about his intention to reach out to the Boko Haram sect, unlike other individuals and groups, who have been working behind the scene to secure the release of the abducted girls.
The former president, according to Falana, reportedly said last week that “some of the girls would not be reunited with their families while others might have become pregnant”.
To the Lagos lawyer, the statement credited to Obasanjo is “callous and insensitive”. It dashed the hopes and accentuates the agony of the parents and friends of the missing girls, said Falana, stressing that “no individual or group should play politics with the tragedy of the abduction”.
He also did not spare any good words for the government for resorting to cheap blackmail because of the global attention the abduction of the school girls attracted.
“The Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku, insisted that the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ rallies were being organised by the opposition. A few days later, some sponsored thugs unleashed violence on the unarmed protesters at the Unity Fountain at Abuja. The team of police personnel at the venue neither stopped the unprovoked attack nor made any arrest”, Falana said.
He continued: “Since the violent attack did not deter the protesters, the Police Commissioner of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr Joseph Mbu, announced that the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ rallies had been banned with ‘immediate effect’. As the ban embarrassed the Federal Government, the Inspector-General of police reversed it. Even though the ban has been challenged in court, the protests have since continued”.
He also lamented the manner in which some top officials of the Federal Government and influential members of the ruling party publicly denied that the Chibok girls were abducted, saying that it smacks of insensitivity.
“The official denial continued even after the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was compelled to publish the names of 180 of the missing girls. But for the identification of the abducted girls in the video footage released by the terrorists, the official denial might have continued. It was at that juncture that concerned women and men in Nigeria began the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Campaign through peaceful rallies. Many people have joined the campaign in many parts of the world”, Falana noted.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that Boko Haram had continued to operate in the Northeast, despite the fact that the area had been under emergency rule for over six months, without any resistance from the security forces.
Falana said the on-going peaceful rallies would continue to remind the Federal Government of its responsibility to rescue the abducted girls and guarantee the security of every person in the country.
“Let the peaceful rallies continue to challenge the leaders of the satanic sect to release the abducted girls. Let the peaceful rallies continue to assure the parents of the abducted girls that we shall not cease to protest until the girls are brought back”, Falana said.