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Following increased activities of the Boko Haram sect in the country, Nigerian students in Canada have expressed worry over the situation as they staged protest march at the weekend in their university campus.
The students who are of the York University, Canada under the auspices of Nigerian Student Association (NSA) in collaboration with Amnesty International at York University (AIY) said the government should step-up strategies that will address the situation.
President, NSA, York University, Ms. Mary Asekome, expressed disappointment in Nigerian government saying it has not being on top of the situation in accordance with its constitutional responsibility of providing security for the citizens.
Asemoke accused the government of continuously failing to demonstrate any serious intention to stop the activities of the dangerous terrorist group over the past six years despite pressure from within the country and from international community.
Asekome also appealed to Nigerian officials to ensure resources meant for fighting the terrorists were allocated as such and should not be diverted.
She said: “I have confidence in the Nigerian military because they will deliver if they are properly equipped and motivated for the task.
“We are worried at this point where the insurgents have turned out to be monsters that have brought untold bitterness in the lives of people in northern Nigeria.
“It is estimated that more than 15,000 civilians had been killed by the sect between July 2009 and January 2015, in series of attacks occurring mainly in northern part of the country.
“Boko Haram sect had abducted more than 4, 000 men, women and children over the same period, including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014. The activities of the sect had led over 1 million people to flee the conflict zone and seek refuge in distal places including neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.
“Reports show that the victims are subjected to horror at the camps of the insurgent. While the girls are forcefully married out to the sect members, the men and children are forcefully drafted into the sect’s military. The result of a refusal of the sect instruction is gruesome beheading of the victim as had been seen in many video posted by the dreaded militant.”
Lamenting the abduction of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls, Asemoke alleged that corruption in the fight against the insurgents had further hampered the effort by the international community that wanted to assist the government in the fight.
“The abduction of the 276 schoolgirls generated a worldwide condemnation and outcry, forcing the intervention of the world powers like the United State, France and the United Kingdom.
“Unfortunately, the high level corruption that characterizes President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration hampered the effort. Corruption in the security services and human rights abuses committed by the military forced the withdrawal of the foreign help.
“It is also believed that the inability of the government to make life meaningful to its citizen have made them a ready instrument in the hand of the Boko Haram sect whose army has been growing at an alarming rate,” she added.
However, Co-founder, “The Change Group”, Jerry Solomon, who participated in the protest, berated the government for trivialising the issue of Boko Haram. Solomon also expressed displeasure over what he called downplaying of damages done by the insurgents to the nation.
“The idea of the government downplaying the magnitude of damages the sect is doing to the nation is unfortunate. I urge the government to map out effective strategies that will address this big challenge facing the nation than giving false report that are aimed at trivializing the activities of the sect,” he stated.
He urged the government to accept the fact that Boko Haram insurgency is a big challenge to the nation and it should map out plans on how to effectively address the ruthless actions by the sect rather than giving false report that are aimed at trivialising the activities of the sect.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the students and Amnesty International, the leader of the group, Ms. Jessa Mclean, accused the Nigerian government of not being bothered over the daily slaughtering of Nigerians in the north-east of the country.
Mclean also called on the government to step up effort at protecting Nigerian civilians, protection of lives and properties a top priority, and should not leave it in the hand of ‘children army’.
She appealed to the Canadian government and international community to put pressure on Nigerian government, leveraging on the treaty partnership agreement, to protect Nigerian civilians.
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