A former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that the abduction of the over 200 schoolgirls on April 14 from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State is a sad episode in the history of Nigeria.
Speaking during a visit by the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group on Tuesday, Mr. Obasanjo said the demand for an intensified effort towards the release of the girls must continue.
“The reason why we must continue to sing this is because today it is Chibok, tomorrow it could be my village,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
The group had visited three Nigerian elder statesmen: Mr. Obasanjo, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and Christopher Kolade in Abeokuta and Lagos.
Mr. Kolade addressing the group said it was only someone with no imagination that could be comfortable with the girls’ abduction.
“What haunts me every day is that anyone who has children or grandchildren (as I do now) has a natural desire to ensure that their future will be one they will enjoy,” Mr. Kolade said.
Mr. Soyinka said the weight of guilt felt towards the abduction of the girls has prevented an end to the demand. He said the entire nation must be mobilized to end the insurgency in Nigeria.
“Remember that a white President mobilised the National Guard to escort one small black girl to school in a deeply racist United States. So why can’t we mobilise the Army to ensure that no educational institution in Nigeria is closed?” Mr. Soyinka asked.
Messers Obasanjo, Soyinka and Kolade recommended that the group’s campaign must be sustained and that the #BringBackOurGirls family should continue to advocate for the rescue of all abducted persons in Nigeria.
They advised the group to continue mobilising and educating Nigerians, provide direct testimony on the impact of the insurgency in the North East and join with other concerned Nigerians to raise awareness and provide humanitarian support for the displaced communities of North Eastern Nigeria.
Referring to the group as a source of hope for the vulnerable Chibok community, the trio agreed to be a consistent voice for the Chibok girls and for the communities of North Eastern Nigeria which have been ravaged by the insurgency.
They also agreed to participate in an initiative to mobilise Nigeria’s other elder statesmen in a non-partisan forum to proffer practical solutions and to be a collective voice of reason on issues of national importance, most especially on the insurgency and the rescue of the 219 Chibok girls.