Two child rights non-governmental organisations have lambasted President Goodluck Jonathan, for going ahead with his public declaration for a second term in office a day after 47 students of Government Science Secondary School, Potiskum, Yobe State were killed by a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber.
Mr. Jonathan, on Tuesday, formally declared his bid for a second term in office on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at a rally held at Eagles Square, Abuja and attended by a crowd of supporters and party leaders.
The United Kingdom-based Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, AFRUCA, and the Nigerian-based Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection, CEE-HOPE, faulted what they described as another round of government’s insensitivity in the face of unprecedented and preventable waste of Nigerian lives in recent times.
This was contained in a joint statement on Tuesday by the Chief Executive of AFRUCA, Debbie Ariyo, and the Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, Betty Abah.
The groups noted that the pattern was too often and too unbecoming.
“Last time the president went on to celebrate at a centenary party after the murder of 59 male students at Government Secondary School, Buni Yadi,” the statement said. “He then flew to Kano for another round of celebration following the gruesome attack in Nyanya which claimed about 200 lives, and then on to Ibadan for a birthday bash.
“Unfortunately, the president is also celebrating yet another bash to announce his nomination to contest the Presidency for another four years. We believe this is wholly insensitive, and is absolutely unacceptable.”
They described the cold-blooded murder of students in their school assembly as “one massacre too many of defenceless and hapless Nigerian children.”
The organisations expressed deep shock and unreservedly condemn the cold-blooded murder of innocent children in their school assembly as “one massacre too many of defenceless and hapless Nigerian children.”
The statement stated further, “This is one massacre of defenceless children too many and the Nigerian government must rise to the occasion in performing its constitutional duty of ensuring full protection for its citizens, especially the very vulnerable, including school children, who have a fundamental right to acquiring education without violence, and these constitutional rights must be upheld by all.
“It is the height of insanity for any group waging a war against a state to have, as its sole characteristic, the brutal annihilation of harmless and completely hapless citizens. It beats every human imagination and these wanton destructions should attract global condemnation and action.”
The organisations wondered what became of the highly publicized Safer School Initiative launched at the UK House of Commons by Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on July 2 and why school children would be exposed to harm when the government responsible for their security had no adequate safeguard structure in place.
They said, “It is truly incredible that since the Chibok Secondary School abductions in April 2014, nothing seemed to have been done to ensure better protection for schools in the areas where Boko Haram are known to be operating. There are many well qualified Nigerians in the diaspora who can be called upon to help but this is not happening. Instead, we have to contend with gory details of schools being attacked and children being massacred.
“It is not enough to make an already scripted message perennially ‘condemning’ acts of terrorism against innocent Nigerians and this time, vulnerable children whose only crime is aspiring for an education that would better their lives.
“The government must show that it is capable of not only protecting Nigerians in every corner of the country but is also sensitive to their sufferings and grief, and respects the memory of the needlessly slain.”
The groups further questioned the point of the state of emergency imposed on states in the North East which instead have experienced unabated attacks by terrorist groups.
They called on the United Nations to intervene in order to ensure the protection of lives especially children and vulnerable people.