A coalition of Civil Society Organisations, Nigerians United Against Terrorism (NUAT), has declared that the most potent weapon against terrorism and other destructive elements in Nigeria is for all critical elements to rise up in one voice and take action that will make terrorists realise that they are undesirable elements in the society.
It therefore, demanded an unconditional release of the Chibok schoolgirls being held captive by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The group expressed these views at a mass rally tagged ‘#Release Our Girls Now’ held in Abuja Monday.
Spokespersons at the rally included the Chairman, House Committee on Human Rights, Hon. Beni Lar, the National President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Mr. Abdulmajeed Abdullahi, a delegate to the National Conference, Hajia Fati Ibrahim and the National President of Joint National Association of Persons with Disability, Miss Judith Ekaette Umoh.
According to Lar, the time has come for all Nigerians to unite against terror as well as exert adequate pressure on the insurgents to immediately release the Chibok girls held in captivity and stop further violence against the Nigerian people.
According to her, the efforts of the military must be appreciated by all and sundry maintaining that the situation would have been far worse if they had not been massively engrossed in their constitutional responsibility of quelling internal insurrections and repelling of external aggression.
She thanked all Nigerians for teaming up behind President Goodluck Jonathan in the war against terror pointing out that their effort must be commended just as she urged them to keep up the spirit until the girls are released by the terrorists.
Lar announced that a welfare fund which all Nigerians can contribute to support the families of our fallen heroes had been established.
According to her, this became necessary in order for citizens to identify and empathise with those who voluntarily laid down their lives so that others will live within the society.
Mr. Abdulmajeed Abdullahi who spoke on behalf of the youth categorically, stated that if the military had not taken up the responsibility conferred on them by the constitution seriously, the entire northern state would have been subsumed by violence and nobody would have been living in the region and Abuja.
According to him, members of the military who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the course of fighting terror will forever be remembered as the martyrs of freedom who laid down their lives for the rest of the country to thrive.
The youth council leader also lambasted those he described as detractors and enemies of progress who had for long continued to accuse the military of not living up to expectations, to henceforth desist from such practice as it had not added any impetus to the war against terror in the country.
A market women leader, Mrs Felicia Sani, lamented that the violence unleashed on the society by Boko Haram has now reached unbearable level and she condemned it in totality, asking Nigerians to be united strongly and join government and the military to fight Boko Haram.
In her conclusion, she chanted repeatedly, the slogan, ‘Boko Haram ReleaseOurGirlsNow’ which resonated amongst the over five thousand women and youths protesters.
In his response, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh, who was surrounded by other service chiefs, thanked the organisers of the protest for embarking on such a gesture which he said will go a long way to boost the morale of the gallant officers.
According to Defence Chief, the military has remained resolute in the war against terror in order to make the country peaceful for all Nigerians to pursue their legitimate endeavours without any act of intimidation by the insurgents.
He enjoined Nigerians to ensure that they keep a keen watch and interest in what happens in and around their neighbourhood and report all suspicious activities of any person or group to the security agencies.
To the families of the kidnapped girls, he consoled them over the unfortunate incident and told them that everything will be done by his men and officers to release the girls safely to them.
The over five thousand protesters who took off at the Unity Fountain in Abuja marched to the Eagle square where they were received by the Chief of Defence Staff and the service chiefs
Source: Thisday


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