Groups of women resident in Lagos, under the aegis of African Arise For Change Network, in their large numbers on Friday staged a mass rally in support of President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government efforts in rescuing the remaining Chibok Girls still held in captivity by the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
The women, who later stormed the office of the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to drop letter for their President Muhammadu Buhari, were seen carrying various placards with inscriptions such as “Nigerian Women celebrate return of Chibok Girls, Thank You Mr. President And Our Gallant Military,” “Her Excellency Aisha Buhari remains a pillar of support in every sense to the IDPs and true to return of Chibok Girls,” among others.
Lagos Coordinator of the groups, Mrs. Oluwatosin Bolarinwa, while addressing newsmen, peaking on behalf of the groups, said the African Arise for Change Network, a a coalition of women groups, was happy to receive the news that 21 of the abducted Chibok Girls that had been released from Boko Haram’s captivity following talks initiated by the Federal Government.
Bolarinwa said, “We can only imagine the emotions of the parents whose children have been returned bringing an end two years of harrowing experience for the families of these girls that have been freed.
“We celebrate with these families even as we acknowledge that there are uncertain times ahead as they work with the government to rehabilitate these young ones. The days and months ahead may be testing but we hope for a positive outcome in the reintegration of the girls in the firm belief that the harder part of their ordeal is over.
“We emphasise that no one, should have to live through that harrowing experience whether as the hostage, parents or family members. We are, however, confident that positive stories will spring from what was once a blot on the conscience of this nation.”
Speaking further, Bolarinwa said, “Our rally today is for no other reason than to say thank you to Mr. President, you promised to bring the girls back and some of us were already losing hope when it was taking time but today we are beginning to see the wisdom of focusing on getting the girls out safely as opposed to applying brute force.
“We, therefore, commend the Federal Government, ably led by President Muhammadu Buhari. His administration has turned around what many Nigerians had given up hope about. Not a few people had said the girls were lost forever but today the story is different. Not only has the first batch of 21 been free, we further have Mr. President’s assurances that we will soon be receiving more of the girls.”
She also lauded the Nigerian Army, and other security agencies for their efforts agencies, saying they were all instrumental in decimating the Boko Haram insurgency to the point where negotiation became possible.
“Thank you to the military, whose members sacrificed on countless occasions to keep the operation against the terrorists going.
Thank you to the parents and families of the Chibok Girls for the many months of patience with Nigeria while their girls were held hostage. Nothing is enough to compensate for countless nights of uncertain vigils.
“This thank you rally will not be complete without us asking for more. We appeal to the government not to relent at this point. It should quicken the pace at which the remaining girls are freed from the terrorists,” the groups coordinator said.
Receiving the women at the Lagos House, Ikeja, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Mr. Taiwo Ayedun, said the government of Lagos State was elated that 21 Chibok Girls were released, assuring that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode would ensure that their letter was delivered to President Buhari.