A coalition of women groups in the country have called on the federal government to step up efforts targeted at securing the release of about 110 school girls of Government Girls Science Technical College, GGTC, Dapchi, Yobe State, suspected to have been kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents since February 19, 2018.
The group also called on members of the National Assembly to ensure the quick passage of the Gender & Equal Opportunities Bill.
The women group, operating under the aegis of IndustriALL Global Union, marched round Jibowu and Yaba areas of Lagos state, demanding the unconditional release of the Dapchi girls as well as the Chibok school girls who have been in Boko Haram custody for about four years.
Made up of women associations such as the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria, (FOMWAN); Women’s Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria, (WOMICAN); Women Advocates Research & Development Centre, (WARDC); and the Women, Law and Development Centre, Nigeria, (WLDCN), they made the call in Lagos on the pedestal of the 2018 International Women’s Day celebration.
Addressing the gathering, Vice President of IndusriALL Global Union, Africa, Region, Issa Aremu, noted that the Dapchi and Chibok kidnaps were assaults on humanity as a whole.
“Today we use International Women’s Day to demand sensitivity and accountability on the part of all Nigerian and African Leaders to the plight of African girls including Dapchi and Chibok abducted girls. Whoever abducts girls has abducted a nation. An injury to Chibok and Dapchi girls is an unacceptable injury to humanity. Our leaders should acknowledge that we are not just facing a National Disaster but a National Catastrophe.
“But regrettably, almost a month after, the girls are yet to be found. Indeed the body languages of the President, Governors and Legislators who are charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and rescuing the girls, show un-seriousness about the plight of the girls. Just last week, in a reported surprise attack on the 3rd Battalion in Rann headquarters of Kala-Balge, the terror inflicted damage, abducted three aid workers (two from ICRC clinic team, one from UNICEF) in addition to killing a UNICEF doctor, and two workers from the International Organization for Migration,” Aremu said.
Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Founding Director, WARDC, also speaking yesterday at a media briefing organised in partnership with the Kingdom of Netherlands, to mark the day in Lagos, said: “Nigeria is today joining the rest of the world to mark this day but the truth is that we cannot claim to be pressing for progress for women if we fail to support them with laws and actions that will better their lives. The Gender & Equal Opportunities Bill, for example, which is still at the senate, is a legal instrument that is bound to transform the lives of women and girls in Nigeria.”
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