– Demand accountability from government
By Manga Julienne Abuja
May 22 (Newshour.com.ng) – Stakeholders have asked Media executives and reporters to continue giving visibility to the captivity of the Chibok Girls, Leah Sharibu and others, demand accountability from the government regarding their welfare until the safe recovery of the Chibok girls.
Stakeholders at the screening of the documentary “Nine Years: Life after the Chibok Abduction”, produced by Women Radio in Abuja called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use the federal government’s might to bring back the girls.
The documentary featured an abductee, parents and siblings of some of the abducted girls who lamented the inconsistency of the government in reaching out to them.
It also showed that about 37 parents have died mostly from trauma occassioned by the abduction of their children.
A sibling of one of the abductees, Alamson, who was flown in from Borno State was inconsolable as he narrated their ordeal.
“They are being kept in the camp doing nothing, they are not being engaged in any vocational training or formal education and we keep appealing to the government to give us an update on what is to be done for the girls”.
The Director of Invictus Africa, Bukky Shonibare, urged the media to leverage their visibility around the nine-point agenda of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement in demanding accountability from the government.
Shonibare charged the media to “beam the spotlight on the funds allocated for the families and how they would be expended and the need for continuity on the Safe School Initiative”
The CEO Connected Development [CODE] Hamzat Lawal, asked the media not to abandon but to continue to give regular reportage of the abducted girls as the media sets the tone for governance and continuity of engagement.
I believe “this is an opportunity with the ongoing transition and important that we use this to set an agenda for the incoming government on security”Lawal said.
Executive Director of Leah Sharibu Foundation, Dr Gloria Puldu, on her part, said, communication gap between the government and the parents of Leah Sharibu who she said, have been left without any words from the government since 2020.
Puldu commended the Nigerian media for their reportage and urged them to step up efforts to amplify the demands of Nigerians on this case.
A journalist, Murtala Abdullahi, stressed the need for the media to probe the Chibok Budget Allocation of over 1 billion naira between 2017 & 2022 for accountability and transparency.
Executive Director Gender Strategy Advancement International and journalist, Adaora Sydney-Jack, reminded the Buhari-led administration to bring back the girls as it prepares to leave while urging the incoming Tinubu/Shettima administration to ensure that more efforts are geared towards the release of the remaining girls.
Ene Ede, a gender activist, said supp,ort and rehabilitation for the girls and their relatives are key.
While the Director of Gender Affairs, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Friya Bulus, noted the ministry had been liaising with different stakeholders in the rehabilitation and education of the rescued girls.
Esther Alaribe, head of programmes, Women Radio, who moderated the conversation, charged media platforms to commit to a weekly reportage of the status of the Chibok Girls and their families and to also work with security agencies to intensify efforts in facilitating the safe release of all the remaining girls still in captivity.
The co-founder Women Radio 9C.7 and the Executive Producer of the documentary, Toun Okewale Sonaiya stressed the need for the media to intentionally report such cases and keep the conversation going.
Okewale Sonaiya said “We should not wait till commemorative dates before referencing the remaining Chibok Girls and the only Dapchi girl still in captivity Leah Sharibu.
We should keep the issue of the girls in incarceration on the front burner as constant reminders to the government to work harder in recovering our girls who are now women because their parents and Nigerians need closure”.
The panellists committed to following the status of the approved funds, tracking data on the girls for proper documentation and promised to follow updates on the girls.
They also called on the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his vice Kashim Shettima to intensify efforts in rescuing the Chibok girls.