- Send A A Clarion Call To Federal Government Of Nigeria To Immediately Rescue Chibok Girls And All Others Under Any Form Of Captivity
Members of the Press, Representatives of Civil Society Groups, Non-Governmental Organisations, Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen, you are welcome to this very important press briefing. It is with deep sense of immeasurable concern and responsibility that we hereby address you on the state of insecurity in our country, the launching of Action Team Against Conscription and Kidnap (ATACK), and as well the public declaration of our mission to sustain agitation on the search and rescue of the abducted children in Chibok, and other places, with the new slogan #RescueOurChildrenAliveNow (ROCAN).
The responsibility of any good government is to guarantee safety, welfare and security of the people. I am sure that after hearing the full meaning of the acronyms ATACK and ROCAN, the essence of this briefing as well as the launching of ATACK would have been known to all, the what’s and the why’s among your questions must have been answered, leaving only the how’s and the if’s? However, we may still have to delve into it all for clarity.
The present level of insecurity in Nigeria
Our dear brothers and sisters of the press, it is no longer news that the greatest challenge to the continuous existence and growth of our nation is insecurity. First it was the internal squabbles for resource control by ethnic groups in the Niger Delta that was cause of insecurity in time past, with youths in the creeks armed to the teeth with all sorts of sophisticated weapons, inflicting a reign of terror in kidnap of expatriates, journalists, families and relatives of government officials including the mother and uncle of the Finance Minister and Mr. President respectively.
Government’s response to the heightened tension with an amnesty programme was just paying off when a new terror group, the Boko Haram took the centre stage.
From a very peaceful and friendly society, within just a decade, our nation has suddenly turned into a battlefield, with unimaginable crimes.
A newspaper article captures it this way;
“In less than 10 years, Nigeria has moved from a country where issues of suicide bombing were totally inconceivable, by even the most imaginative minds, to where suicide bombing is now a daily occurrence. The country has moved from a nation where church buildings and mosques used to be held sacred by everyone, including unbelievers, to a tragic situation where churches are now being bombed with regularity.
The nation has transformed from a country where our National Independence day celebrations was always a time of unbridled public expression of pride and joy, to a situation where the President was forced to deliver his last Independence Day speech from his bedroom, simply because terrorists dared him to come to the stadium.”
10 years back, no one could have predicted the kidnap of 80year old woman in Nigeria, by Nigerians for any reason, talk less, for an xyz of money. We claimed, and indeed were cultured people with so much regard for religion, and genuine fear of God.
No one could, not even the greatest pessimist, could have seen a Nigeria where suicide bombers of all ages, male and female threaten the collective existence of all, in virtually all states of the nation.
Despite an emergency declaration by the federal government and series of curfew to curtail crime, the entire northeast has known no peace for over 2years. Broad day light attack on cities and villages, kidnap of young pupils writing exams, killing and maiming of police and soldiers at their different base stations, as well as total halt on economic activities of the common man are now the regularities of a region that once served as an agricultural hub of our nation. The region is moving fast towards the process of extinction!
The North Central states, Kano and Kaduna; major economic hub of the region in trade and commerce have been under bombardment by the Boko Haram insurgents in recent times. This situation not only threatens the whole economy of northern Nigeria, but as well as the food sustainability of the entire nation.
Abuja, the capital territory has not been spared, series of bombing at shopping malls, car parks, around eagle square as well as the Louis Edet House – Police Force Headquarters, put to question the safety of any individual anywhere in the country.
The kidnap of 219 school girls from Chibok by Boko Haram for over 4months is now a real source of worry.
Let us appraise the scenario under which the Chibok girls were taking hostage:
Firstly, the state was under state of emergency by the federal government, meaning high presence of military personnel.
Secondly, that a curfew was on to aid several military checks on the activities of Boko Haram, only to have 219 schoolchildren whisked off in a convoy of buses without any challenge.
These two points pose a great sense of concern to any Nigerian living anywhere in the country. Can this be said to be a conspiracy by individuals in the Nigerian Military?
If the conspiracy issue within our military and other arm of government is not yet established with the above, perhaps a look into the recent kidnap of the vice prime minister’s wife in Cameroun and the timely response and success of the Cameroonian army in setting her free in less than 48 hrs should baffle us the more. Is it really a weakness of the Nigerian army? Is the Cameroonian’s Boko Haram group different from that of Nigeria?
Sadly, while the actions and inactions of the Nigerian army leaves so much doubt on our mind that of the President poses more danger and source of worry. It took over 100days of captivity for the president to meet with parents of victims in showing concern and giving assurance of the government’s will in rescuing the innocent girls
We must emphasis here that most victories in war histories, or any battle, is a function of the conviction, will and resolve of the men and women prosecuting such battle.
If this is true, can we then say we are winning or losing the battle on terrorism? If anything, the boldness with which the Boko Haram group hits on our barracks and military bases while their ‘known’ base of Sambisa forest enjoy relative peace leaves so much to ponder.
Unfortunately, the ruling and opposition parties have turned this perturbing situation to blackmail tools for political points. We must remind all and sundry, that no land can offer us succor like that of our nation. Before things finally fall apart, our leaders should brazen up to win for us, the much-needed freedom on the lands of our nation.
The local and international link; conscription and kidnap
We cannot claim to be oblivious of an international angle to terrorism, likewise conscription and kidnap as a tool by insurgents. A general view of what is happening in Kenya by the Al-Shabab, ISIS in Iraq, and other terror groups, tells of a war within that enjoys support of all kinds outside the shores of Nigeria.
This known fact, informs the need for us to fight the local war, with much interest on happenings on war against terrorism, kidnap and conscription in the international scene.
The said arrival of foreign experts to help track down the insurgents and to release the Chibok children was much welcome, but really, no nation fights the war of another, losing the precious life of its citizens when nothing is at stake.
Americans would only give arms to the Kurds to fight their own war. Iraqis are now uniting, Shites, Sunnis and Kurds, as they have realised that no American soldier will die for their interest.
Cameroonian soldiers put their lives on the line to rescue their Vice-Prime Minister’s wife. We can do same for our children, as they are the future of our nation.
Our plans / way forward?
We, the Action Team Against Conscription and Kidnap- ATACK (A coalition of NGO’s and Civil society organisation) cannot watch situation go on. It is our firm belief that an injustice to any Nigerian, regardless of tribe or religion, perpetuated by whomever, local or foreign terrorist must be collectively resisted. It is this renewed culture of resistance that can be used to guarantee the safety of every Nigerian.
We have resolved to resist conscription and kidnap, either from individuals, terrorist groups, and government institutions, in forms of illegal proxy arrest or of any other kind.
We shall be using all constitutional means to guarantee freedom for any Nigerian conscripted, kidnapped home and abroad. Our government agencies as well as other law enforcement institutions should tolerate and support this cause.
On the Chibok Children, we enjoin every Nigerian to spare the time, wherever you are between 11.00 and 13.00 on daily basis, to reflect, pray, join-in and engage in activities that can guarantee the release of these innocent children.
As citizens of this country, we owe them so much. An injustice to one is an injustice to all!