Girls education under attack: The time for decisive action is NOW

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Girls education under attack: The time for decisive action is NOW

Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, Lagos

4 March 2016

Today is 4 days since schoolgirls of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, Lagos were kidnapped in their school this past Monday, 29 February. This attack bears an eerie semblance with the abduction of 276 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok in their school 690 days ago today, on Monday 14 April 2014. 57 escaped, 219 are still missing.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the parents, relations, colleagues, etc, of our kidnapped #IkoroduGirls.

We find this kidnap unacceptable and denounce it in the strongest terms. We have repeatedly said that failure to rescue our Chibok schoolgirls would embolden others to replicate same atrocity, knowing that they can get away with it. We must stop these evildoers.

We commend the Lagos state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode for initiating and leading Lagos State Government’s proactive response to the kidnap, for reaching out to calm frayed nerves, and the continued assurances that all is being done to bring them back.

However, we task especially the federal government to set up mechanisms that ensure that citizens are safe as is the primary duty of government. We particularly want schoolchildren to be safe in their schools. Schoolchildren should never be put in the position of contemplating between being in school and being safe and secure.

We also demand that the Safe Schools Initiative (and other endeavours like it) to be implemented in a transparent manner that serves its purpose.

We also denounce in strong terms the shabby handling of the Miss Ese Oruru abduction matter, especially by some sections of the media and the Nigeria Police Force.  Miss Ese Oruru is a child victim who was abducted, but  some sections of the media exposed her face without blanking any parts to protect her, while (deliberately or not) shielding the villain who abducted her. Some sections of the media also promoted falsehoods about this unfortunate incidence, making it difficult at first to ascertain the truth about the unfortunate incident. This we condemn.

The police on their part were notified and aware that this young girl who should be in school was taken away from her home, parents, and family without their consent since August 2015, but did nothing about it up to February 2016. This sloppiness and unprofessionalism we condemn in the strongest terms. Those within the force found to have been part of this shameful conduct must be identified and punished accordingly. Our police must be made to be more responsive. The lives of citizens must be dignified, and welfare prioritised at all times.

This child may now be back with her parents, but the matter is not yet over. The handling of this matter and logical closure on it would determine how the matter of our #ChibokGirls and #IkoroduGirls would be handled when they return. We therefore urge all to be engaged on it.

1. The abductor and all those involved in the abduction must be identified and punished to the full extent of the law. Likewise all those involved in keeping her while she was away from her parents without the their consent;
2. All those who should have resolved this matter promptly since August 2015 and made the offenders face the law but did not, must be identified and punished accordingly;
3. A deliberate process of her psychological and other rehabilitation, reintegration, and resettlement back into her family and community should commence immediately. Her family and community need all the support they can get. ‘It takes a community to raise a child’;
4A.  What mechanisms can be put in place to prevent future occurrence?
4B. How many other such unreported cases as this exist out there?

We enjoin all to unite, let us together fight and conquer this menace that threatens our humanity, and right to education especially for our young ones.

Thank you.

For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls


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