Human right groups including women on Monday protested continued detention of about180 girls by the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, with the Lagos State Government calling for a three-day prayer and fasting to ensure release of the remaining girls.
At least 234 girls were kidnapped from Government Girls College, Chibok, Borno State about 21 days ago. Fifty-four of the girls who have escaped are said to be in the custody of the Borno State Governor.
The human right group were led by former president of the West Africa Bar Association Chief Femi Falana and former Attorney General of Lagos State, Justice Wonu Folami (rtd) along with coalition of women showed their dismay in group under the auspices of Women for Peace and Justice in Nigeria.
The group, bearing placards marched from Allen Roundabout down to the Lagos State House, Ikeja and in the process engendering heavy traffic gridlock along Awolowo Way.
“Our future leaders are missing, bring them back,” “Chad, Cameroon and Niger, stop enabling criminals,” “We want our girls back alive,” “Save innocent girls,” “Enough is Enough,” “234 girls, Haba!” “FGN, Free the Chibok Girls”, were conspicuously written on their placards.
Spokesperson of the protesters, Aisha Oyebode said the essence of the protest was to mount pressure on relevant agencies to ensure the girls returned unharmed from their captors. Oyebode said it was the responsibility of government to ensure that they were rescued and brought back home safely.
“The longer it takes to rescue our girls, the greater the dangers they are exposed. The lack of action is unacceptable, the growing insecurity is worrisome and we as Nigerians demand an immediate and complete end to the politicization of insecurity in this country,” she said.
Retired Justice Wonu Folami said it is sad that the actual number of girls kidnapped are unknown.
“Our children have been brutally murdered. Over 200 girls are kidnapped, this is very sad that nothing is being done about it. It is sad that the government does not even know the number of girls that are missing.
“We want security to be redoubled immediately. We want them back alive and without them, there can be no tomorrow. Fashola should double his effort to provide security in Lagos Stste as there are insinuations that they might strike here”. Also speaking Femi Falana said it was high time the Federal Government secured the release of the girls.
“We demand from the Federal Government for the immediate release of these girls. Lagos State Government should help us to appeal to the Federal Government to take immediate action for the release of the girls.”
Addressing the protesters the Lagos State Deputy Governor Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire said the state government would join hands with the federal government to ensure the girls were released. She said it is disheartening to hear that 234 girls were kidnapped and are being kept by the terrorists.
“We are pained as mothers for this to be happeing to our gurls. We will do our best to ensure that they are released. All of us should pray and fast for the release of these children because we believe God can do it.
“From tomorrow, Lagosians can observe three days fasting and prayer to pray for the release of these girls. We need divine intervention. Let us lend our voices to God to release these children,” she said.