The Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Council, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, yesterday called on the federal government to consider the proposals for the transfer of children in the eight Unity Schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States to other schools outside the region in the wake of mass killing of students at the Federal Government College Buni-Yadi in Yobe State.
In a statement yesterday, Odinkalu said many official reports, including the Marshall Dike report (2009); Galtimari Report (2011); and Turaki Committee Report (2013), which already contained far-reaching proposals for addressing the situation in North-east should be considered.
He also called on the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency and in reflecting on the death of the students to reconvene urgently in plenary.
He said: “The federal government and the governments and people of the states in the Lake Chad area in North-east Nigeria deserve the support and ideas of all citizens, well-wishers and friends of Nigeria as they work to bring an end to these atrocities.
“Confronting this requires collective leadership at all levels. At a time like this, it is necessary for political leaders across parties to sink their differences, reassure the country, and discover in adversity such as this the will to forge common purpose.
“Sybolisms do matter. In memory of these children and all others lost in the ongoing situation in the North-east and as the institution of government closest to the people, our National Assembly should re-convene urgently in plenary.”
He advised that the plans for the centenary celebration should reflect the tragic backdrop of the country at this time, adding that a suitable period of national mourning would not be out of place.
â€œLast Tuesday un-known persons presumed to be elements of the Jama’atu ahlussunnah lid da’awati wal jihad(JALISWAJ), perpetrated a mass atrocity in which they killed tens of learners at the Federal Government College, (FGC) Buni-Yadi and abducted an equally shocking number of female learners.
Odinkalu said there was no way to minimise the shock and tragedy of these events.
“The perpetrators clearly do not wish Nigeria well. Words are not enough to condemn them and their conduct. To the parents of the affected children, words are equally insufficient comfort or condolence. This is every parentâ€™s worst nightmare.
Condolences are also due to the government and people of Yobe State and to the federal government,” he added.
According to him, â€œeducation is a basic right guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoplesâ€™ Rights, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.â€
He said: “These children were killed in exercise of this right. The pursuit of education cannot because for the mass murder of innocent children.
“FGC Buni-Yadi is one of a network of 104 so-called Unity Schools, begun in 1966 by the federal government and accelerated in the 1970s to foster national unity in Nigeria through learning and enlightenment. It truly hurts that children whom we sent to school as symbols of our unity as a country have become sacrificial offerings in some peopleâ€™s project towards dis-unity. This must not be allowed.”