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#BringBackOurGirls: World Rises Against Boko Haram

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The abduction of schoolgirls in Government Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno State, has provoked world leaders to join forces with Nigeria in the quest to rescue the girls from Boko Haram terrorists.

The world leaders including United States president Barack Obama, British prime minister David Cameron, France president Francios Hollande and United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki-moon have vowed to assist Nigeria in rescuing the schoolgirls.

The development came just as Ghanaian president John Mahama, Rwandan president Paul Kagame, president of the ECOWAS Commission Mr Kagame Onedraogo and former head of state and chieftain of the All progressives Congress Gen. Muhammadu Buhari also said that all hands must be on deck to save the girls.

Celebrities around the world have also voiced their outrage over the abduction of the schoolgirls, flooding social media with posts using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

Male celebrities have joined the campaign using images saying, “real men don’t buy girls”.

Malala Yousafzai told CNN that the kidnapped girls were her “sisters”. Angelina Jolie also spoke publicly about the kidnapping, which she called “unthinkable cruelty and evil”.

Other international celebrities, among them Jada Pinkett Smith, Angelina Jolie, Justin Timberlake, Piers Morgan, Isha Sesay, Kelly Rowland and Drake also added a voice to the campaign for the release of the schoolgirls.

President Obama said Tuesday that the abduction of nearly 300 girls from a school in Nigeria is “heartbreaking” and he believed the incident may mobilise the world to act against the Islamic militant group that has taken credit for the mass kidnapping.

Speaking with ABC News, Obama said Boko Haram has been “killing people ruthlessly for years” and is among the world’s worst local terrorist organisations.

“This may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization that’s perpetrated such a terrible crime,” he added.

Obama said the U.S. has sent a team of military, law enforcement and other agencies’ personnel to help the Nigerian government identify where the girls may be. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan spoke with secretary of state John Kerry Tuesday morning, the White House said, underscoring that the offer of aid does not include troops, Obama said that the United States has long wanted to work with Nigeria on eradicating Boko Haram.

“We’ve long sought to work with Nigeria in dealing with them and we’re going to do everything we can to assist them in recovering these young women,” Obama had said. “obviously what’s happening is awful,” Obama told CBS news. “As the father of two girls, I can’t imagine what the parents are going through.”

Similarly, former US first lady Mrs Hilary Clinton, who declared the kidnapping of the schoolgirls as an “abominable” act of terror, rated President Jonathan’s response to the news on the abducted female students as being slow.

She said President Jonathan was too slow in the response to the abduction, even as she demanded “a lot more action” in the fight to bring the children home.

The domestic and international efforts — or lack thereof — to rescue the girls from their Boko Haram captors took centre stage as Clinton stepped to the podium at an International Crisis Group award dinner in New York City’s lush Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

“Everyone needs to see this for what it is. It is a gross human rights abuse but it is also part of a continuing struggle within Nigeria and within North Africa. I greatly appreciated President Obama’s decision to send a team to assist the Nigerians,” she said, noting that while “the United Kingdom and other European partners have offered support” and “every asset and expertise should be brought to bear,” it is Nigeria and “Nigeria’s neighbours” who should align and launch a “coordinated effort to rescue the girls and bring their kidnappers to justice.”

Earlier, in Washington, D.C., Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, came out of a meeting at the Nigerian Embassy and, in the same vein, demanded Jonathan step up and take a lead role in pressuring Boko Haram leaders.

Also, in an open letter published on Thursday, a group of more than 40 eminent individuals from around the world called for a global effort to free the schoolgirls kidnapped last month. The high level group of business, civil society and religious leaders called on the Nigerian authorities and international community to mobilise all necessary resources and expertise to help locate and free the missing girls.Some of the signatories to the letter are Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohammed Azab, representative of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and President Fernando H. Cardoso, the former Brazilian President. Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders and co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also signed the letter.

British prime minister David Cameron is not left out in the calls for the release of the over 200 abducted schoolgirls. Reacting to the ugly development, Cameron said humanity would not allow what is happening in Nigeria to continue.

Cameron said, “This is an act of pure evil. It has united people across the planet to stand with Nigeria to help find these children and return them to their parents. This is not just a Nigerian issue, it is a global issue.

“There are extreme Islamists around our world who are against education, against progress, against equality and we must fight them and take them on wherever they are.”

The Iranian foreign ministry also deplored the kidnapping, calling it an inhumane move.

Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Marziyeh Afkham told reporters in Tehran that, “We completely reject this inhumane act as an unacceptable move and we hope that action will be adopted to prevent operation of extremist groups and terrorists in Nigeria and the world and we hope that stability and tranquility will be established in that country at the earliest.”

The former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan also said Africa has been too slow in responding to Boko Haram’s abduction of 230 schoolgirls at Chibok in Nigeria.

“I think the reaction of Africa should have been faster,” Annan told the BBC in an interview.

He said the continent “should have come out condemning this very actively,” adding that the Nigerian government’s opaqueness with information on the abduction hasn’t helped matters.

Girls’ abduction beginning of end of terrorism – Jonathan

President Jonathan has said that the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls will mark the beginning of the end of terrorism in Nigeria in view of all the countries that have stepped in to help find the girls.

Jonathan, who who was speaking at the first plenary session of the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa yesterday in Abuja, also expressed appreciation to all the delegates for coming to Nigeria despite the terrorists.

He said, “Let me thank all of you for coming to Nigeria at this trying time when we are facing terrorist attacks. Your coming here to support us is a blow on the terrorists. Let me also thank all the countries that have expressed commitment to help us rescue the abducted girls. Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande and other world leaders have spoken with me; we appreciate their commitment to help us put an end to the crisis.”

Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang, who announced the increase in credit line to Africa yesterday at the first plenary session of the WEF on Africa, said his country was ready to provide financial, personnel and technological support to infrastructure development in Africa.

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with the United States ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, to map out modalities for the implementation of the offer made by US president Obama to assist Nigeria in the rescue of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok, Borno State.

The meeting between Jonathan and the US ambassador on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa was a follow-up to talks held yesterday between Entwistle and Nigerian security officials on the United States’ offer of assistance.

According to the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, at the talks with the US ambassador, Jonathan reiterated Nigeria’s appreciation of the United States’ offer to deploy security personnel and assets to work with their Nigerian counterparts in the search and rescue operation, which was conveyed to him on Tuesday by the US Secretary of state, Mr John Kerry.

The president told Entwistle and other delegations which met separately with him at the venue of the World Economic Forum that the much greater support which Nigeria was receiving from the United States and other members of the international community in the aftermath of the Chibok abductions will certainly help the country to rapidly overcome the Boko Haram insurgency.

UN secretary-general Ki-moon spoke with President Jonathan on the phone yesterday to convey the sympathy and solidarity of the global community with the government and people of Nigeria.

Abati said Ki-moon “assured President Jonathan that the United Nations (UN) was ready to help Nigeria in every possible way to rescue the abducted girls and achieve greater security of life and property in all parts of the country”.

President of Ghana Mahama and the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, also brought him a message of solidarity from ECOWAS heads of state and government.

Mahama informed Jonathan that, to support Nigeria’s efforts to rescue the abducted girls and defeat terrorism, ECOWAS leaders have decided to invoke the community’s protocol on counter-terrorism.

The Ghanaian president said that a meeting of heads of intelligence services of ECOWAS member-countries will hold in Accra next week to work out a new framework for intelligence sharing in support of the effort to eradicate the threat of terrorism in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region.

We must unite against Boko Haram – Buhari

Meanwhile, Buhari has condemned the abduction of the schoolgirls in Chibok, saying that there is a need for Nigerians and the world at large to unite in the quest to free the girls.

The former head of state, who stated this in a letter he personally signed and made available to LEADERSHIP Friday, said: ‘‘That video posted on the internet is a clear manifestation of the bigots. It shows them for whom they are; such men cannot threaten nor should they be allowed to violate our sovereignty. It is clear from what they profess that they are not followers of God. They do not mean well for our country and her citizens.

‘‘Let these people know that the entire civilized world is united against their terrorist acts. We are grateful to the world for standing by Nigeria at this trying time. We hope that the young ladies will be reunited with their respective families in the days to come.’’

The elder statesman further stated: ‘‘The unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and nothing should divide us as a people. We must put aside all other considerations and ensure that our country Nigeria pulls together now so as to recover our sovereignty. After all, we all know that Nigeria is the ONLY country we have that we can call our own.’’

Job creation will end Boko Haram – Dangote

The chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said that job creation will put an end to the menace of Boko Haram. Dangote, who spoke at the pleanary session of the World Economic Forum in Abuja yesterday, said, “The only way to stop Boko Haram is to create jobs.” He explained that the group plans to invest a total of $2billion in sugar production in the North.

UN sends high-level delegation to Nigeria

By United Nations secretary-general Mr Ban Ki-moon yesterday voiced his deep concern at the fate of the recently kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria during a phone call with Jonathan, who has accepted the United Nations chief’s offer to send a high-level envoy to discuss how the world body can support the government tackle internal challenges.

During the call, Ki-moon expressed his solidarity with the people of Nigeria, and especially the girls’ families, according to information provided by the secretary-general’s spokesperson.

“The president briefed the secretary-general on the current state of the search for the 230 girls, who were violently abducted from their school in Borno State in mid-April by Boko Haram militants. Jonathan also accepted the secretary-general’s offer to send a high-level representative to Nigeria to discuss how the United Nations can better support the government’s efforts to tackle the internal challenges,” said a statement made available by Ki-moon’s spokesperson.

In a separate statement, the secretary-general said he shared the anguish of the families of the girls and the people of Nigeria at this “traumatic” time, just as he reiterated that the targeting of children and schools was against international law and could not be justified under any circumstances.

Also, a group of UN and African human rights experts has called on Boko Haram to immediately release the abducted girls, and urged the Nigerian government to take all necessary measures to ensure their safe return and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“Ensuring the return of the girls and holding perpetrators accountable will contribute to ending impunity. It will also send a strong message that Nigeria places paramount importance on the protection of girls,” it stated.

We have capacity to free abducted students – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday claimed it has what it takes to free the abducted female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, and condemned a report that said it lacks capacity to free them from their captors.

The military in a statement issued and signed by the spokesman of the Defence Headquarters, Major General Chris Olukolade, dissociates itself from the statement credited to it in the report by a section of the media alleging that the military lacks capacity to rescue the girls.

“It is unfortunate that the constructive engagement between the DHQ and the coalition of civil society groups ‘Open Society Foundation’ on Tuesday in the ongoing effort to rescue the Chibok girls has again been distorted and sensationalized ostensibly to pit public opinion against the armed forces.

“The import of the meeting between DHQ and the group was misrepresented apparently to project the Nigerian military in bad light and further heat up the polity. It must be noted that the military by training is not given to complaining, buck-passing or resignation to defeat as alleged in the report,” the military stated.

The DHQ said it would not only refuse to join issues with those agitating for the freedom of the abducted girls but would also not have any group to drag it into politicization of the whole saga.

“While the armed forces will not want to join issues with the representatives of the ‘Bringbackthegirls’ group, it is important to reiterate that no attempt by any group or individual to drag the military into politics will succeed as the armed forces is focused on the task of rescuing the abducted girls.”

ACF welcomes US, Britain, China’s Offer

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday welcomed the assistance being offered to Nigeria by the United States of America, Britain and China to rescue the abducted girls.

The forum, in a statement by its spokesman Muhammad Ibrahim, also commended the federal government for setting up a fact-finding committee to verify the number of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

The forum said although the federal government acted belatedly, it is a good development considering the general outrage and protest by women organisations, civil societies and the general public on its earlier inactions.

The statement said that ACF had earlier called on the federal government to make concerted effort towards the safe rescue and release of the abducted girls from their captors.

They urged the presidential committee to swing into action with the collaboration of the Borno State government and security agencies.

Boko Haram Bombs Nigeria-Cameroon Bridge

As calls intensify for a joint international fight against the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria, the sect members yesterday bombed the bridge linking Nigeria with neighbouring Cameroon, Sahara Reporters writes.

According to the online medium, the sect members blew up the bridge which is located at a place linking the Nigeria-Cameroon immigration post. The online medium further claims that the attack left no fewer than 30 people dead.

LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that the bombing of the bridge which extends to Borno State has caused a high level of destruction, throwing residents of the area into disarray.

Incidentally, the shattered bridge is located near Gamboru Ngala in Borno State which came under attack of the insurgents this Monday.

The attack occurred at a time world leaders gathered in Nigeria for the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) being hosted by Nigeria. A lot of world leaders have in their speeches in WEFA condemned in totality the persistent attack of Boko Haram which has destroyed many lives and property.

Protesters locked out of Abuja venue

In a related development, protesters in Abuja seeking the rescue of abducted Chibok schoolgirls were yesterday locked out of the Maitama Amusement Park in Abuja.

The group, which met at the park after its first meeting, came to the park only to find the gates under lock and key.

But the protesters reconvened outside the park and vowed to continue to do so until a new venue is found.

Former minister of education Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili expressed the group’s staunch support to the cause of the abducted schoolgirls.

Article Credit: Leadership

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     War Against Boko Haram: Chibok     Borno State