Women from various civil society organisations (CSOs) on Thursday defied a downpour in Abuja to protest the delay in securing the release of 234 abducted schoolgirls in Borno by insurgents.
The women were also at the National Assembly to seek intervention from the lawmakers in the efforts to rescue the girls.
Senate President David Mark, while receiving the protesters, said the lawmakers shared in their pain and would work with them for the rescue of the girls.
“Government is its doing its best to address the situation. I therefore urge you all to collaborate with government to ensure we rescue the girls as soon as possible,’’ he said.
Dr Oby Ezekwesili, one of the protest leaders and a former World Bank Vice-President, appealed to the Federal Government to intensify efforts to immediately rescue the girls.
“There must be concerted efforts to bring back our girls. We are frustrated that 234 girls are lost and there are no adequate information about their whereabouts.
“Our leaders must show concern over the situation. We want to compel the right momentum for the search, and our activities are basically about bringing back our girls.
“These young girls are our daughters, sisters, tomorrow’s women and mothers. Those directly affected grieve, and we as Nigerians and human beings join them in their anguish and distress,’’ Ezekwesili, a one-time Minister of Education, said.
She expressed concern that there was insufficient information available to the society concerning the issue, stressing that the incident was unacceptable to many all over the world.
Also speaking, Hajia Hadiza Usman, the Co-ordinator, Women for Justice and Peace, urged all concerned citizens, irrespective of religion and ethnic background to rise up against insurgency in the country.
Usman said the abduction incident would discourage many mothers from sending their girl-children to school.
“No country will accept the missing of 234 girls, especially as government has not given enough information about the search for them,’’ she said.
One of the protesters, Mrs Bilkisu Rimi from Katsina city, expressed disappointment at government’s search of the abducted girls, saying the nation’s security needed to be tightened.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some men also joined the women in the protest, all wearing red tee-shirts and chanting “bring back our girls alive’’.