“Rallies and/or marches will be held daily at Unity Fountain Abuja at 3 p.m. each day”.
Nigerian women, including some from Chibok in Borno State, continued on Thursday with the protest they started on April 30 to demand that the Federal Government do more to regain freedom for the 230 girls abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
On Wednesday, amid the heavy rainfall, the women in tears and obviously in anguish promised to continue the protest as long as the girls remain with their kidnappers believed to members of the dreadful Boko Haram sect.
While workers in Nigeria staged various activities for the May 1 Workers’ Day, and citizens in Lagos and Kaduna protested against the kidnap of the girls and bad governance in Nigeria, the women and some men stayed at the Unity Fountain.
The Chibok women at the rally refuted the Nigerian Government’s claim that concrete attempts were being to rescue the girl. They said community members continue to provide security officials with leads that are not followed through. They also vowed to continue to gather at the fountain every day at 3 p.m. till the girls are found.
Below is a report by Jibrin Ibrahim, a leading member of Nigeria’s civil society movement and one of the protesters at the rally.
Abuja #BringBackOurGirls Rally of 1st May 2014
News report by Jibrin Ibrahim
Following yesterday’s successful march on the National Assembly by women, accompanied by some men, to demand Government accelerates action, finds and releases the girls immediately; another rally took place on May 1 to sustain the tempo of the demands. Following the irresponsible statement by the PDP Woman Leader that there is no evidence that the girls were taken away, the head of the Chibok community in Abuja put rally leaders in touch with the school teachers in Chibok who expressed dismay that the ruling party would express such cruelty towards their plight. Rally drew attention to the fact that the girls were taken from a government secondary school and the state government has indicated that they have full details of the girls abducted. Rally however advised that the names and photographs of the girls should not be released to the public as the girls are in captivity and such action can further jeopardise their situation.
The Chibok community leaders in Abuja also informed the rally that they know that no efforts are actually being made on the grounds after two week to locate and release the girls. The community has been providing leads to the security agencies but there is no follow-up.
In his solidarity message to the women, former speaker, Ghali Umar NaAbba, said that Government has a core responsibility to find these girls and we must continue to pressurise them to do so. In the same vein, Ireti Kingibe informed the rally that Government does to respond to talk, only action. She advised Nigerians to adopt the types of tactics deployed in the struggle against the third term agenda, saying when Government sees the real anger of the people, they will sit up.
Fatima Gana, a medical doctor from Borno, expressed delight at the emerging unity of all Nigerians around the issue of #BringBackOurGirls. She added that in reality, over a thousand girls have been abducted in small numbers but the Chibok girls are the largest group so far. She concluded that to save the society, we must stop these abductions and insurrection.
Hadiza Bako, also from Borno, informed the #BringBackOurGirls Rally that there is no thick forest in and sambisa is not a thick rain forest. She said the insurgents can be and should be found and the girls released.
The #BringBackOurGirls Rally then decided as follows:
1) Rally representatives will meet with the National Security Adviser on May 2, 2014 to express their demands for immediate and effective action to release the girls.
2) Rallies and/or marches will be held daily at Unity Fountain Abuja at 3 p.m. each day. The next rally is 3 p.m. on May 2.
3) Rally agreed that we should set up a trust fund to provide material support and trauma counselling to the victims and their families.
4) Rally calls on Christian and Muslim religious leaders in Abuja to demonstrate their concern for the girls by joining the movement.
5) Rally called on the Nigerian Labour Congress to come and join the movement and demonstrate with action their concerns.
6) Rally participants committed to mobilising more participants for
tomorrow. COME ONE, COME ALL.