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Children’s Day: Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls forgotten? – Ezekwesili asks

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Children’s Day: Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls forgotten? – Ezekwesili asks

Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education and foremost campaigner of the Bring back our girls group, (BBOG) movement was not only on invitation to the 2018 Human Rights conference and the launched of mobile APPS technology organized by the US Consul General, Lagos.

She was actually there to lambast the action of the Nigerian police who disrupted the activities of the protesters of BBOG whilst she was away to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She expressed shock at the clamped down, “I have been trained not to wane for my commitment but to obliged, I returned from Addis Ababa yesterday.

Before I left for Ethiopia, the BBOG movement began to experience serious clamp down on our activities by the federal government using the Nigerian police.” Since April 13, no day passes by that we were not at the unity fountain in the last four years to protest for the return of the chibok girls.

She recounted that about 219 Chibok girls were taken by terrorists April 14, 2014 out of which 107 are home and 112 girls are still in the custody of Boko Haram.

“On the basis of our commitment, from the time we did the first match, April 30, 2014, precisely, we have not stopped advocating for return of our Chibok girls,” she said. Clamping down on her movement activities, Dr. Ezekwesili said that it is an infringement against their fundamental human right.

Explaining that, “democracy is about fundamental right of people to be out of a society and to know that their freedoms will never be infringed upon, because it bestows upon the citizens the rights to make all kinds of choices within the framework of the constitution.” She indicted the Buhari-led administration of not being supportive enough in their pursuit for the release of the remaining girls.

“This new administration which has repeated its action in the last three years of their governance decided that they would on daily basis prevent us from holding our advocacy for the remaining 112 Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu.

Government told us that Sharibu was left behind or was withheld and that five had died, none of the parents of the five were spoken to, or engaged in manners that dignify the right to human life. Sharibu’s parents have no update on what is going on with their daughter. How fair is that?” She questioned.

Dr. Ezekwesili added that the 112 Chibok girls’ parents have also not been spoken, rather she said they were treated with disdain both in the previous administration and the current one.

That is why a gathering like this is important, according to her. However, she urged Nigerians and relevant authorities not to relent on seeing to the release of Sharibu and the remaining 112 girls.

“We urge all relevant authorities not to relent in the efforts to see that Leah Sharibu and all who are held captive are returned safe and unharmed. We must intensify efforts for the release of our Children, even as we felicitate with the families of all who have been released,” she said. Restating Bukola Saraki’s, the senate president plea on the girls, “The safety of the Nigerian child is non-negotiable.

We, therefore, make an unequivocal call for the release of all Nigerian children in captivity.We remember Leah Sharibu and the other Dapchi Girls – as well as those Chibok Girls still in captivity, on this symbolic day. We affirm their right to freedom, to live carefree with their loved ones, to go to school, and for their dreams to remain intact, “ she said.

Emphasizing on fundamental human rights of citizens, Dr. Ezekwesili explained that it is sacrosanct in within the society. “When one person is being dehumanised, it means we all are dehumanised, we all maltreated , we all are reduced in our shared humanity. Human dignity is the basis of right. Every human comes to the world with inimical right.

We shall dare the Nigerian military, Nigerian police, Nigerian government. We shall dare because should we have to wait with the forces that are anti-democratic and anti the constitution,” she said. Meanwhile, the President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration would ensure protection of the Rights of the Nigerian Child and as a result of such efforts, Nigeria has been declared a Pathfinding Country on Ending Violence Against Children.

“This I believe is a collective achievement and I urge us to continue to build on the present momentum to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.

He added that, “In our efforts to protect our children from abuse, exploitation and trafficking as well as provide safe, non-violent inclusive and effective learning environment in our schools, this Administration has directed the management of all Federal Government Colleges and advised all state owned schools across the Country to provide adequate measures of safety and security of their students.”

“I again call on all schools management committees at all levels of public and private institutions to take adequate security measures and put in place mechanisms for safety of children.”

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