Four years after the abduction of over 200 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, a former education minister, Oby Ezekwesili, has gone to court to demand government’s action for their immediate release.
Mrs Ezekwesili wants the court to compel the Nigerian government to provide monthly reports of its efforts towards ensuring the safe release of the abducted girls.
Her decision to approach the court followed four years of campaigns for the release of all 276 girls abducted by the Boko Haram on April 14, 2014.
Following their abduction, a group, #BringBackOurGirlsGroup, led by Mrs Ezekwesili and others, began a daily campaign for the release of the girls.
Although many of the abducted girls have been released while others have died, about 112 of them remain missing till date
In the application brought before the Federal High Court, by her lawyers led by human rights activist, Femi Falana, Mrs Ezekwesili is accusing the federal government of denying the abducted children their rights to education, personal liberty and freedom, among other things.
Although the court papers seen by PREMIUM TIMES indicate that the 112 abducted girls are the actual persons approaching the court, the document was attested to in the court by Mrs Ezekwesili whose declarations form the basis of the request.
Mrs Ezekwesili’s application is based on sections 33, 35, 37 38, 40, 41 and section 18 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
The sections relate to the fundamental rights of Nigerians, which form the basis of the application.
Mrs Ezekwesili also accused the federal government of violating sections of the African Charter of Human Rights, in “its manner of handling the abduction of the Chibok girls”.
According to the request, Mrs Ezekwesili wants the court to direct the Nigerian government to immediately arrest and prosecute all those responsible for the abduction of the Chibok girls.
Mrs Ezekwesili cited information provided by the media that the Nigerian government and its security operatives had prior knowledge of a possible attack, but failed to act before the April, 2014 abduction.
Mrs Ezekwesili also alleges that despite various confirmations by the terror group that they abducted the Chibok girls, the Nigerian government “has neglected” its responsibility towards ensuring the release of the children.
A date is yet to be fixed for hearing of the application.
The Boko Haram terror group whose name signify a prohibition of western education have kidnapped many school children, most of them girls, since they began their attacks in Nigeria.
In a similar incident in February, the group kidnapped over a 100 children at a school in Dapchi, another community in Yobe State.
After an ‘agreement’ with government, the terror group released the abducted children one month after but held on to 14 year old, Leah Sharibu ostensibly because she refused to denounce her Christian faith.
Five of those abducted however died at the hands of the terror group.
Although the federal government has promised to ensure the safe release of Miss Sharibu, the girl has marked her 15th birthday in the hands of her captors.
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