Amnesty International has called out the Nigerian authorities, carpeting it for multiple failures in failing to stop the continued abduction of young girls in Nigeria, close to a decade after the first incident took place in Government Girls Science School, Chibok, Borno State in 2014.
The organisation, which accused the government of failing to learn from the incident, nine years after, particularly pointed to the heartbreak the parents of the Chibok Girls had been undergoing since the incident, saying it was too much to allow a repeat as had been seen in subsequent years.
Stating that the attitude of the government underscored its inability to to protect children, the non-governmental organisation, which made the assertion in a statement on Friday against the backdrop of the ninth anniversary of Boko Haram’s abduction of 276 students from the school regretted the inability to rescue the 98 girls reportedly still being held by Boko Haram and a slew of abductions have taken place since.
Since the Chibok schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram, other schools have been targeted, with girls being abducted, raped, killed or forced into “marriages”, Amnesty International noted.
According to the group, the Nigerian authorities, however, have not carried out a single credible investigation into the security failures that left children vulnerable to the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and gunmen.
“Parents of the 98 Chibok school girls who are still being held by Boko Haram – as well as other children abducted by gunmen – are living in anguish, knowing that their children are in the hands of ruthless individuals who subject their loved ones to chilling brutalities,” said Isa Sanusi, Acting Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“It is beyond time that the Nigerian authorities took meaningful action to counter armed groups like Boko Haram and gunmen. Nigeria has an obligation to implement safeguards to protect all children, and the lack of accountability for these callous crimes is fueling impunity.
“The missing Chibok school girls should be returned home to their families, and all those responsible for committing grave violations must face justice.”
The full statement, entitled and signed by Isa Sanusi, Acting Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, read: Nigeria: Nine years after Chibok girls abducted, authorities failing to protect children, read: “98 Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram remain in captivity
More than 61 children are still being held in captivity two years after they were abducted by gunmen. Lack of accountability for crimes against children emboldens impunity.
“Nine years after Boko Haram abducted 276 students from a girls’ school in Chibok, 98 girls are still being held by Boko Haram and a slew of abductions have taken place since, revealing the utter failure of the Nigerian authorities to learn from the heartbreak of Chibok and, ultimately, to protect children, Amnesty International said today.
“Since the Chibok school girls were abducted by Boko Haram, a plethora of schools have been targeted, with girls being abducted, raped, killed or forced into “marriages.” The Nigerian authorities, however, have not carried out a single credible investigation into the security failures that left children vulnerable to the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and gunmen.
“Parents of the 98 Chibok school girls who are still being held by Boko Haram – as well as other children abducted by gunmen – are living in anguish, knowing that their children are in the hands of ruthless individuals who subject their loved ones to chilling brutalities.
“It is beyond time that the Nigerian authorities took meaningful action to counter armed groups like Boko Haram and gunmen. Nigeria has an obligation to implement safeguards to protect all children, and the lack of accountability for these callous crimes is fueling impunity. The missing Chibok school girls should be returned home to their families, and all those responsible for committing grave violations must face justice.”
“Between December 2020 and March 2021, there have been at least five reported cases of abductions in northern Nigeria, including from schools, at Kankara, Kagara, Jangebe, Damishi Kaduna, Tegina and Yawuri while the threat of further attacks has led to the closure of over 600 schools in the north of the country.
“At the end of March, Amnesty International interviewed five Chibok school girls who had escaped from Boko Haram and their parents. They said they had lost almost all hope that the other 98 girls would ever be rescued. One of the returnees told Amnesty International: “The Nigerian government should not forget about the remaining 98 girls. They should be rescued. Every morning I wake up and recall the condition I left them in. I cry, I feel sorry for them. Nine years is too long to be in such a deplorable condition. The government must fulfill its promise of rescuing all the girls.”
“Victims’ parents are concerned that the girls who refused to be “married” by Boko Haram are suffering brutal treatment every day. One of the parents told Amnesty International: “Our pain is endless because 14 of the girls came back with 24 children. We have with us grandchildren whose fathers are unknown to us. Our burden has now multiplied as we do not have the money to bear the additional burden of feeding, educating, and [providing] healthcare for our returnee children and grandchildren. This is in addition to the societal rejection and stigma that we are all facing. We are just hopeless!”
“Parents of Chibok girls who are still being held by Boko haram, told Amnesty International that the Nigerian authorities no longer communicate with them and have ultimately abandoned them. Since February 2021, northern regions of Nigeria have suffered repeated attacks on schools and religious institutions. Of the more than 780 children who have been abducted for ransom, more than 61 children are still being held in captivity two years after they were abducted by gunmen. Many schools in the region were shuttered — and remain closed — due to rising insecurity.
“Rescuing the remaining Chibok girls is of paramount importance; the task of finding them should not become yet another failed project of the government. It is absolutely crucial that the outgoing government of Nigeria does all in its power to bring these girls — as well as all other children being held by various armed groups — home to their families.”
In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from a government secondary school in Chibok, a town in Borno State. Some of the girls escaped captivity on their own, while others were later released following intense campaigning efforts by civil society organizations and negotiations by the government. Of those initially abducted, however, 98 girls remain in captivity, while children have been abducted in subsequent attacks. Amnesty International has been documenting Boko Haram’s atrocities and targeting of schools since 2012: https://bit.ly/3mpHtLI In May 2020, Amnesty International also published a report on the dire impact of the conflict in Northeast Nigeria on children.
Akpara emerges Special Adviser on Finance, as Otti names 21 aides
Michael Akpara, Director of Finance and Operations of Alex Otti Campaign Organisation (AOCO), has been upgraded to play the same role, this time in the new government of Abia State, as he has just been named as Special Adviser on Finance to the Governor, by Alex Otti, Governor of Abia State.
In a statement by his spokesman, Kazie Uko, Otti, also named 20 other aides in the categories of Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, and Special Assistants, with Uwanna Ikechukwu, emerging Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters.
Others, in the new set of appointments, were, Uche Eme Uche, Special Adviser on Education, Joel F. Ogbonna, Petroleum and Energy, and Clifford C. Agbaeze as his Senior Special Assistant on Agriculture.
Other appointees are Chimereze Okigbo as the Special Adviser on Internally Generated Revenue, Uche Mark Nwosu as the Chief of Protocol, Uche Ukeje as the Senior Special Assistant on Aba Rejuvenation, Dodoh Okafor as the Special Assistant on Public Communication, and Uzor Nwachukwu as the Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
Meanwhile, Kingsley Anosike was appointed as the Special Adviser on Planning and Strategy, Uzoma Nwagba as the Senior Special Assistant on Digital Economy and SME, Rev. Father Christian Uche Anokwuru as the Special Adviser on Policies and Interventions, and Ifeoma Thomas as the Special Assistant on Vulnerable Groups and Poverty Alleviation.
Dike Nwankwo was also appointed as the Senior Special Assistant, Special Duties, to the Governor; Okey Kanu as the Special Adviser on Strategic Communication; Betty Emeka-Obasi as the Senior Special Assistant, Special Duties; and Chinedu Ekeke as the Senior Special Assistant, Youth and Sports Development.
Chuka Ofili will be the Senior Special Assistant for Domestic Affairs, Luke Ukara Onyeani will be the Senior Special Assistant for Legislative Matters, Navy Commander Macdonald Ubah (Rtd) will be the Special Adviser for Security, and Chimezie Ukaegbu will be the Special Adviser for Trade and Commerce.
The development comes about days after Governor Otti nominated eight officials, including Prof. Kenneth Kalu as the Secretary to the State Government and Caleb Ajagba as his Chief of Staff.
Since assuming office on Monday, the governor has also directed that all accounts of the Abia State Government be immediately frozen, as well as those of its agencies domiciled in all financial institutions.
Soludo: Denying me State Box seat, close to Tinubu not an insult – Soludo
Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, has dismissed being turned back at the pavilion for top dignitaries during the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu on Monday as nothing, saying the incident was merely being twisted.
Soludo, alongside immediate past Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, were barred from entering the VIP section during the inauguration of the President, as captured in a viral video, which surfaced while the inauguration was going on.
A voice was heard lamenting that “they have bounced my governor. See him explaining like a child,” as the governor appeared to be either pleading to be let in or explaining something to some people at the entrance of a particular section of the Eagle Square, who appeared not to be listening.
After a while, as it appeared that the people he was talking to simply ignored him, while busy conducting their business, the governor, who appeared unhappy, was seen turning round to walk away, as the voice in the video continued lamenting on what it believed was poor treatment of “his governor.”
But Soludo, in a statement, through his spokesman, Chris Abarume, simply brushed the incident aside, saying the image at the occasion was simply twisted by the narrator and that he was duly invited to the occasion, and could not have been sent away from the state box, where dignitaries were meant to sit, adding that he was indeed, one of the “few governors” that had the privilege of being invited to the event.
He said: “A very mischievous and misleading video is currently being circulated online by some mischief makers who derive pleasure in misinforming the general public
“The video shows Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, arriving the Eagle Square for the Presidential swearing-in ceremony in Abuja and was subsequently being re-directed courteously by protocol officials to the rightful position reserved for him at the other side of the VVIPs sitting positions. Redirecting invited guests to their rightful sitting position is neither an issue nor a condescending act.”
BREAKING: Tinubu gets GCFR, Shettima, GCON, at Buhari’s final lap in office
For Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, and Kashim Shettima, the climax inched further on Thursday with the conferment of the the prestigious honours of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) on them, the highest of such in the Nigeria, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
At the investiture, which took place at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, the event, which is part of a series of events lined up for the May 29 inauguration ceremony, was also witnessed by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Chief Justice of the Nigeria and Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as top Nigerians, Buhari, reiterated his confidence that Tinubu would finish what he started eight years ago, when he came into office.
The event, took place on the heels of the official handover of Transition Documents to the incoming administration of Tinubu, who was declared winner of the February 25 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Channels Television, quotes Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha who doubles as Chairman of the Presidential Transition Council, as disclosing at a briefing last Thursday, that an Inauguration Lecture on the topic: Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development by His Excellency, Uhuru M. Kenyatta, former President of Kenya will take place on Saturday 27th May.
This will be followed closely by a Children’s Day Program which would involve a parade and a party for the kids.
As part of the schedule of activities marking the 2023 Presidential Inauguration, an Inter-denominational Church Service will hold Sunday the 28th at the National Christian Centre by 10:00am and an Inauguration Dinner/Gala Night will take place later on at the State House Conference Centre.
The SGF further stated that on Monday, 29th May, the Inauguration Parade and Swearing-In exercise will take place at the Eagle Square by 10:00am, this is to be followed afterwards by a Post Inauguration Luncheon.
Boss Mustapha assured that adequate arrangements have been made for the safety and security of all people throughout the inauguration period.
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