Public outrage continued in Abuja today as a coalition of women activists and other organizations staged protests over the continued disappearance of more than 200 girls abducted from their school in Chibok, Borno State. Armed men suspected to be members of an extremist Islamist organization, Boko Haram, abducted the schoolgirls on April 14. The protesters, organized by “Women Uniting for Peace in Nigeria,” today staged a peaceful rally in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. They demanded that Nigerian authorities speed up action in rescuing the abducted girls who have been kept by their abductors for more than two weeks. Borno State, with Maiduguri as its capital, has been one of the hotbeds of Boko Haram insurgency.
The protesters, who were dressed in black T-shirts, converged at the old Parade Ground in Abuja to express their displeasure at the government’s foot-dragging. They condemned the government for remaining largely mute over the grave matter of school children’s abduction.
The coordinator of the group, Priscilla Achakpa, criticized President Goodluck Jonathan’s lukewarm attitude towards the plight of the victims and the agony of the innocent girls’ parents. She called for steps to be taken to ensure the return of peace and tranquility in Nigeria.
Ms. Achakpa also strongly condemned violence against women and children in different parts of the country. The Nigeria government should keep people posted on the abduction,” she said. “We have the right to know what is happening to our children. [The government] should update us because this trauma is too much for us to bear.”
The aggrieved protesters carried placards with gory photos of victims of various bloody attacks in the country as they marched to Radio House, Abuja. The protesters threatened to take their protests to Eagle Square, the venue of the May Day celebration. However, security operatives barricaded all roads to the venue because President Jonathan was there.
Some participants in today’s rally also frowned at a campaign rally organized by a group to support Mr. Jonathan’s re-election in 2015, describing the politicking as wicked, insensitive, and an expression of lack of respect for human dignity.
When the whole country is in mourning and grief those useless people are singing and dancing for re-election of the President,” one organizer of today’s protest said. The group asked the president to shelve all campaign rallies for now and focus on finding the missing girls. via saharareporters.com