Missing girls: Suspend Yola rally, APC tells Jonathan
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend the political rally he plans to attend in Yola on Tuesday unless the missing Borno schoolgirls were found.
Over 200 female students of the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok are yet to be found since their abduction on April 14 by suspected Boko Haram gunmen.
“(The) President cannot and should not be celebrating when over 200 schoolgirls are missing,” the party said yesterday in a statement by its spokesman Lai Mohammed.
President Jonathan came under criticism penultimate week for attending a political rally in Kano a day after 75 people were killed in a blast at Nyanya, Abuja.
The Adamawa chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has scheduled a rally for Tuesday during which Jonathan will formally receive retired General Buba Marwa and others who defected from the APC.
But APC yesterday said it would insensitive to hold the event when the schoolgirls are yet to be located.
“We hope and pray that our daughters are released safely even before Tuesday, April 29th when the rally is to be held, but until then, it is insensitive and indecent for anyone, least of all the President who is the father of the nation, to engage in any celebratory outing under any guise,’’ Mohammed said.
Referring to the Kano rally, APC said the President must not repeat “the faux pas he committed less than 24 hours after 75 of his compatriots were killed in the Nyanya bombing.”
“All decent men and women were riled that President Jonathan went dancing at an illegal campaign stop in Kano and popping champagne corks at a birthday celebration in Ibadan when the smoke was yet to clear from the scene of the Nyanya bombing,” it said.
“The President should not repeat the same mistake, if indeed he considered that to be one. He should see the missing girls as his own daughters and stop forthwith his illegal campaign rallies.”
The statement also said, “For a President whose grovelling aides have likened to Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and other great leaders in a patently blasphemous campaign, he should take time to ask himself how Obama would have reacted to one missing girl from any school in the US, not to talk of over 200 missing girls.
“Does President Jonathan honestly believe that Mandela, in his days as President, would have been campaigning when his compatriots are being daily bombed or abducted?
“Sycophancy has no limit, especially in an environment where many will disown even their children for pecuniary gains, but President Jonathan must rise above those who are justifying his insensitivity by saying the government cannot shut down so as not to give victory to Boko Haram.
“We are not saying the government should shut down. But the President must shut down all celebratory public outings and all political campaigns until our missing daughters are safely found and returned to their homes.”
The PDP and the Presidency are yet to react to the call by APC to suspend the Yola rally.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the United Nations to “urgently intervene to secure the safe release” of the abducted schoolgirls.
In a statement yesterday, SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni urged the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) of the UN Security Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide “international assistance and support to the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of the children and to ensure that they are back to school.”
“Continuing abduction of these innocent children is having negative impact on their well-being and long-term education. We are urging these bodies to move swiftly to support efforts to protect schools, teachers and students from deliberate attack in the North-East of the country,” he said.
“The abduction of the children is also an attack on their right to education, and calls for a strong international effort.”