Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
The Senate on Tuesday urged all the parties in the negotiation that led to the release of 21 of the Chibok girls to ensure that other hostages in Boko Haram’s captivity were rescued.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly, while thanking those who negotiated the release of the 21 schoolgirls, noted that a large number of abductions by the sect were not reported, adding that the negotiators should look beyond the Chibok girls to rescue more victims.
Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, who raised the matter on the floor of the Senate during Tuesday’s plenary, said no fewer than 1,000 persons were in Boko Haram captivity.
He said, “The 219 girls are not the only girls that were abducted. Their (exact) number is not known but there are more than 1,000 of them, I can bet on that. Some of them have gone unnoticed; some of them are missing; some of them, only God knows where they are and in what condition they have found themselves.
“I want to thank you on behalf of Chibok people and to beg you to continue to stand by them because these girls and the people of Borno and the North-East, generally, need Nigerians more than ever before.”
Senator Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti-South), who supported Ndume’s motion, called on all stakeholders to work towards securing the release of all abductees.
She said, “Like the Senate Leader said, there are so many other girls who have gone unnoticed and are still there in Sambisa and elsewhere. We believe that they should not be left to their fates. And it is not only the Chibok girls that are most important but all Nigerians that have been captured by the Boko Haram.
“The time has come for the government to also come out and tell us about what is going on and how far we have gone with Boko Haram. Every day we hear ‘we have conquered’ and the next day there is a bomb blast; there is daily escalation. We need to know where we are. Nigerians need information.”
Olujimi warned that there was the need to secure communities in the North-East so that those who had been rescued would not be kidnapped again.
“We need to know that those girls are not going back into captivity because they are going back to Chibok. If Chibok is still not safe, it is something we also need to think about,” she stated.
The senator pointed out that the womenfolk were very proud of the armed forces, Red Cross, the Swiss government, while appreciating the efforts all those who were part of the negotiation.
“As women, we are saying our children should never be caught up in such a thing again,” she said.
Olujimi, however, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, who told his wife, Aisha, that she belonged to “the kitchen, the sitting room and the other room,” when Aisha criticised him in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Hausa Service, recently.
She said, “We pray that as we stand, as girls, not only in the kitchen but in the Senate and every important place, the men will support us to achieve our goals and be able to aspire to be whatever we want to be in Nigeria.”
Senator Binta Garba (Adamawa-North), however, replied Olujimi, saying, “That (kitchen) is my primary constituency; to be in the kitchen before even being in the Senate. As a woman, I am proud to be in the kitchen and even the other room.”
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Leke Baiyewu, Abuja