Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday received members of the Kibaku Youth Association based in Lagos on a peaceful protest over the abduction of schoolgirls from a government school in Chibok, Borno State, urging everyone to continue to be hopeful that a peaceful solution would be found to the problem.
The governor, who spoke at the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Ikeja while receiving the group who are of the Chibok ethnic stock of Borno State based in Lagos, said there was no time to seek peace in the country more than now, maintaining that it is only in an atmosphere of peace that the nation can focus on the way forward.
While describing the activities of the abductors as a demonstration of extreme violent conduct against innocent children, the governor urged the aggrieved men and women to continue to keep the peace as they have been doing.
He gave a commitment that he would forward their letter of protest to President Goodluck Jonathan immediately and that if indeed the security agencies have been reluctant at swooping on the hideout of the abductors, it must be for safety reason not to increase the casualty figure and not because of lack of capacity.
He also explained that since the criminal attacks on Borno State started and in fairness to his Borno State counterpart, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has shown a lot of courage and determination to confront the crisis headlong.
Fashola noted that the words of the protesters bore testimony to the sense of compassion they have for their fellow men. He described hostage taking of any kind as unthinkable and dehumanising, reiterating that one could only encourage the parents of the affected children not to give up.
According to the governor, the kind of shock and fear that the girls would be experiencing currently was better imagined than experienced and any set of people who abduct girls and set buildings ablaze for whatever reasons are people who have lost their sense of humanity.
Speaking earlier, the legal adviser of the group, Mr. Minda Yahaya Chiwan, said the group, which is made up of professionals from Chibok based in Lagos, said they were at the Government House to express their concerns and grievance about the abduction of the schoolgirls from Chibok Government Secondary School.
He said the group decided to bring the letter of protest meant for the president to Fashola because of the commitment he has shown on the issue of security and because they believe he would convey their message properly to the president.
Chiwan said the elders of Chibok also decided to embark on self-help in search of the missing girls who have been missing for two weeks but were advised not to advance to the Sambisa forest, where the girls are believed to be kept, for security reasons.
The governor was joined in receiving the protesters who held several placards by the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaiye and other members of the State Executive Council, including the Commissioners for Science and Technology, Mr Adebiyi Mabadeje and Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Hon. Oyinlomo Danmole.