Friday, September 9, 2016

British lawmakers deliberate on continued captivity of Chibok girls

Some British lawmakers in the UK House of Commons on Thursday held a meeting that lasted for two hours and 34 minutes, at Westminster Hall to deliberate on the issue of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in Chibok, Borno State.
The lawmakers, who expressed regrets that the girls had not been rescued despite military efforts by Nigeria and its Lake Chad Basin neighbours, disclosed that the case of the missing girls would be considered again at the United Nations General Assembly.

During the meeting which involved consideration of the “Second Report from the International Development Committee, Session 2016-17,” of the UK’s Department for International Development in Nigeria, various British lawmakers called on the global community to rise in defence of the missing pupils, who were kidnapped from their hostel on April 14, 2014.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had, during his inaugural speech, stated that he would redouble efforts to find the girls, adding that the country would not have “defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls.”

One of the lawmakers, Helen Grant, said at the meeting that held on Thursday afternoon that time is running out to save the girls.

Her words, “I stand in this great hall as a mother, a daughter, a sister and a politician. I can actually still hear the chants of those Nigerian women (BringBackOurGirls Campaigners) at Unity Fountain (in Abuja). I can still hear them saying, ‘Bring back our girls now and alive. Bring them back now,’ over and over again. Rarely have I witnessed such strength and determination.

“We need governments and agencies around the world to share credible intelligence and all the latest eye-in-the-sky technologies to find these girls and to bring them back home. Time is running out. Every single day, there is more suffering. Decisive action is needed now, and terrorism cannot be allowed to succeed.”

Another lawmaker, Stephen Twigg, stated, “We send out from Westminster Hall this afternoon (Thursday) this message – that we want, as our badges say, to bring back our girls now. I look forward to a future debate in this Chamber or the House, where we can celebrate the return, and the reuniting with their families, of those girls who are still alive.”

Similarly, a member of the British parliament, Meg Hillier, who visited Nigeria this year said he “heard that perpetrators of sexual offences against young girls were getting off with a fine less than the price of a UK parking ticket because the shame on the family of having a prosecution and evidence that their daughter had been sexually molested was too great.”

Also speaking was a Conservative lawmaker, Tobias Ellwood, who noted that the United Kingdom, UK, had not done enough to assist Nigeria in resolving the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Clearly, we will not defeat Boko Haram militarily. What we have done is not enough. Boko Haram will simply reform and recruit if something better is not put in place. There needs to be economic development and civilian-led security so that people genuinely feel safe,” Ellwood said.

Another lawmaker, Lisa Cameron, said, “Meeting with the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners in Abuja was one of those moments in life that grounds you. They have been campaigning for the return of the Chibok girls for more than two years and have pledged to keep the girls’ memory alive outside Parliament until they return.”

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