Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the Nigerian government to intensify efforts to secure the release of the remaining 195 school girls under the captivity of Boko Haram and thousands of others, abducted across the North-East region by the insurgents.
The organization made the call as part the ongoing seven-day global week of action declared by the BringBackOurGirls group to mark the third anniversary of the abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014.
“Boko Haram continues to abduct women, girls and young men who are often then subjected to horrific abuses, including rape, beatings and being forced into suicide bombing missions”, Amnesty International said in a statement by its Country Director for Nigeria, Makmid Kamara.
“Sadly, many such abductions go unnoticed and unreported by the media. This has left many parents and relatives without any hope of being reunited with their loved ones.
“These appalling abductions and other attacks, some of which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are carried out by Boko Haram on an almost daily basis.
“They must stop. Today we remember and lend solidarity to the families of the Chibok girls as well as the thousands of other women, girls and men abducted, killed or displaced by Boko Haram,” the organization said.
The BBOG group, led by its conveners, Aisha Yesufu and Oby Ezekwesili, again on Wednesday held a solidarity march from its usual base at the Unity Fountain in the Central Business District of Abuja to the Federal Secretariat junction of the Presidential Villa.
In their usual red attire and each carrying a banner with the inscription ‘I March for ChibokGirls,’ members of the group undertook the about three kilometres trek.
Addressing the group, Mrs. Yesufu reiterated that it would be three years on Friday since the Chibok schoolgirls were abducted.
“What is the crime of the Chibok girl? Is it because she is poor or is it because she wants to be educated?
“Our sisters have spent three years in captivity just because they dared to be educated. Every Nigerian must be protected by the Nigerian state.
“We have said it repeatedly and also again, if the Chibok girls were daughters of the rich, or belong to the political class, will they still be in captivity for three years?
“If it was Zara Buhari or Kiki Osinbajo that was in captivity, will they have to be standing and making demands for three years? President Muhammadu Buhari must remember that he campaigned using the Chibok girls. He said he was going to rescue them immediately.
“What is he doing? Why is there silence from this administration that campaigned using our Chibok girls? Why are the Chibok girls’ parents begging to be heard, begging to be told what is going on?”
Mrs. Yesufu called on Nigerians to rise and rescue the Chibok girls from captivity.
“Rescue of our Chibok girls is not a privilege, it is their rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari, the same way you campaigned in 2014/2015, you must remember that our Chibok girls are still in captivity. 195 of them.
“Many people have said 24 of them were rescued and that we should go back but we have 195 reasons to keep marching,” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs. Ezekwesili said there is no country on earth that condemns its citizens to a life without value.
“Our Chibok girls have been in a state of endangerment since almost three years. In two days, it will be three years that they have been in the captivity of terrorists. How can a nation forget this fact of the role of a state in the lives of citizens?
“Our Chibok girls do not deserve the injustice given by the two governments in this country. The government under which they were abducted pretended that Chibok girls did not exist for many days before it took delayed and tentative action.
“And then a government that promised to make our Chibok girls priority has now been in government for about two years and it has not in any way treated Chibok schoolgirls in any form that is materially different from what was the case in the past”, she added.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had earlier on Tuesday said the federal government was very committed to the release of the girls and was in negotiation with the Boko Haram for their release.