Women from all over the country will on Wednesday converge on the nation’s capital, Abuja, wearing red clothes to stage a Million-Women-Protest-March to put pressure on the Federal Government and the security agencies to take the necessary actions immediately to free the girls held captive by Boko Haram insurgents for the past two weeks.
Prof. Hauwa Abdu Biu, Chairman of Baobab For Women’s Rights, a civil society organization, told newsmen in Maiduguri, Borno state capital on Sunday that the One-Million-Women-March in Abuja was decided on after an emergency meeting convened by Hajia Nana Kashi Shettima, Borno State First Lady, on the way forward to get the schoolgirls released unharmed without delay.
The meeting had in attendance wives of service chiefs in the state and beyond, non-governmental organisations, women professional bodies, representatives of Federation of Muslims Women Associations (FOMWAN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), among others.
Hajia Nana Kashi Shettima, the Borno State First Lady, appealed to all women to put their differences aside, Including religious and ethnic differences and join hands together to rescue these girls, believing that Almighty Allah is with all of them.
Last week, Professor Biu led a coalition of Borno women dressed in all-black clothes to address a press conference during which they offered to go into the Sambisa Forest, the stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgents where the girls are believed to be held hostage, to negotiate their release.
Biu informed the meeting on Sunday about the change of plan from marching to Sambisa Forest to the Abuja One-Million-Women March protest themed, “Free Our Girls!”
She said the protest march would involve conscientious women mobilized from all over the country, including Borno women, to Abuja for the rally wearing all-red clothes.
“The last time we were in black. But this time around, the colour for the Abuja rally is red. So we should all be prepared and mobilise ourselves for the rally,” Professor Biu explained.
In corroboration, Hajia Nana Shettima, Borno State First Lady, asked the wives of security chiefs at the meeting, both in the state and at the Federal levels, to assist in mounting pressure on their husbands to intensify their efforts towards rescuing the abducted schoolgirls.
“I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the wives of security chiefs at the national and state levels to mount pressure on their spouses to intensify efforts to rescue our dear children.
“However, I feel it is necessary to call on all women in Borno to come up with their resolutions and harmonise them. Let us all put our differences aside, irrespective of our faith and ethnicity; let us all join hands together to rescue these girls. I know we can do it, Almighty Allah is with us, He knows our intention,” Hajia Nana Shettima said amidst a rivulet of tears.
“I am sure for now we are not on our own. I am happy to inform you that the wife of the President called me two days ago. I believe that she is also with us. So let us all join hands together irrespective of political affiliations,” she added.
All the women at the meeting called on the Federal Government and the security agencies to intensify efforts towards rescuing the kidnapped girls.
They also called for prayers and fasting in mosques and churches so that God would touch the hearts of the insurgents to release the girls and they agreed to mobilise to Abuja for the rally.
On a cautionary note, Mrs. Aisha Wakil, who has been in the forefront of calling on the insurgents to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue, has now cautioned the security agencies against the use of force in rescuing the girls.
She expressed the fear that several of the girls may be killed or injured severely either by soldiers’ friendly fire or by the Boko Haram insurgents under fire.