Osun First Lady Leads 'Free Our Children' Protest In Osogbo
As the search for the abducted Chibok girls assumed an international dimension, the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has called on the Federal Government for affirmative action against the nation’s immediate neighbouring countries in the search for the missing girls.
Aregbesola made this call in Osogbo on Thursday when women in the state led by the First Lady, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola, and the students in the tertiary institutions under the aegis of National Association of Osun State Students (NASS), staged a ‘Free Our Children’ protest to the Governor’s office.
The governor, who said the abduction saga has gone beyond Nigeria’s problem alone, disclosed that Borno State shares border with Cameroun, Niger and Chad and that there is probability that the insurgents may be receiving supports from the countries.
He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to call on the African Union to call a meeting, which will mandate these three countries to cooperate with Nigeria in rooting out insurgency in that axis.
He averred that Nigeria should declare war on whichever country that refuses to abide by such resolution and cooperate with it.
He described as terrible the present situation the nation has been thrown by the insurgents saying the abduction of over 273 high school girls is a tragedy of huge proportion.
“The problem is now beyond Nigeria alone. I urge the President to co-opt the nation’s neighbours, particularly Cameroun, Niger and Chad, who share border with Borno State.
“Their cooperation in the search for these girls is essential and if they refuse, Nigeria should call on the AU to mandate them to cooperate with Nigeria, failing which the nation should declare war on any country that refuses to abide by such AU resolution,” Aregbesola said.
He identified mass employment for the youths of the country so as to sap the avenue through which Boko Haram sources for recruitment.
He called on religious organisations to set a day aside to pray for the nation and end it with fasting.
He accordingly commended the efforts of the Joint military task force since the activities of the Boko Haram plunged the country into social crisis, saying the military should however intensify its efforts until the girls are rescued.
Aregbesola continued, “We appeal to religious organisations to set a day aside for prayer for the nation. Muslim should pray on Friday, Christians on Sunday and the traditional religion on Saturday, asking God to help us end this disaster.
“We commend the effort of the military but their efforts will not amount anything until those girls are found and reunited with their people. So we call on the military to intensify its efforts the more.”
Earlier in her address, Mrs. Aregbesola expressed the growing concern of the women of the state over the missing girls.
She noted that of late, women and girls have been targeted victims of various violent crimes ranging from abduction, rape and ritual activities.
“On behalf of all women in the state, we are staging this protest to tell government at all tiers that we have suffered enough.
“We therefore demand the release of our children abducted by the Boko Haram. We also express our concern on the growing violence in the country most of which target women,” Mrs. Aregbesola said