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The abduction, kidnapping and trafficking of 234 female students from Chibok, Borno State - Press Release by the Nigerian Feminist Forum

8 May 2014

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The abduction, kidnapping and trafficking of 234 female students from Chibok, Borno State

LAGOS, NIGERIA, 30TH APRIL 2014 –Bearing in mind that in almost every conflict situation, women and children are most likely to be affected, the abduction of 234 young female students from the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, by heavily armed men suspected to be Islamist terrorists clearly demonstrates the vulnerability and susceptibility of women and girls to dangers of armed conflict.

The Nigerian feminist forum (NFF) is outraged by the failure and inability of the Nigerian Government to effectively secure the lives and welfare of these school girls as stated in section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which states that the primary function of Government is to secure the lives and property of its citizens while Section 33 of the same constitution guarantees the right to life.

The NFF hereby wishes to express our displeasure with the travesty with which the Nigerian government and indeed the Nigerian Army have treated this matter as exemplified by the inconsistencies in the released figure of girls abducted without proper verification from parents and school authority. Most importantly, the inability of the Nigerian army to locate and safely return the girls to their parents 2 weeks after they were abducted does not justify the huge increase in security votes for federal military spending from N922 billion in 2012, N1 trillion in 2013 & N845 billion in 2014. It is still rather unclear what efforts the Nigerian government and military is making to retrieve these girls despite the huge public outcry generated.

There is worrisome emerging indication that the said girls have been trafficked and sold off in marriages to other militants outside of the Nigerian border. This action is a clear violation of Article 21(2) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which prohibits child marriage and violates Section 27 of the Child Rights Acts which provides that “No person shall remove or take a child out of the custody or protection of his father or mother, guardian or such other person having lawful care or in charge of the child against the will of the father, mother, guardian or other person.”

The NFF hereby calls on the Nigerian Government to

(a) Expedite actions aimed at safely returning the abducted girls to their parents and ensure adequate security of life and property of every Nigerian citizen living within its bothers;

(b) To beef up security across its various borders to effectively control the movement of arms and people;

(c) Employ every positive means to restore peace and ensure the end of the conflict in Northern Nigeria;

(d) To ensure that upon return that adequate rehabilitation and counselling services are made available for parents and daughters who will all be traumatized.

The NFF also calls on the Nigerian military to; unitize all its various resources and manpower to protect and secure lives and property of every Nigerian.

We are also calling on the Media to maintain professionalism in reporting the situation and refrain from insensitivity such as emphasizing the marriage suitability of the girls which is inappropriate at this time and will cause the family further distress.

The NFF stands by the unprecedented out pouring of action as seen by the organized Marches taking place all over Nigeria via the #Bringbackourgirls advocacy campaign. We hope the Government is paying attention.

Lastly the NFF will like the Islamist Militants to lay down their arms and embrace peace recognizing that Islam, a religion of peace does not permit harming women and children in armed conflict.

Signed

Geraldyn Ezeakile

NFF Coordinator

16 Alhaji Bashorun Street

Ikoyi, Lagos

Email: nff at alliancesforafrica.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nigerianfeministforum
Twitter: @nff2008