The indigenes of Chibok in Borno State have expressed displeasure over the detention of their representative to the meeting with the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
The indigenes said the action of the first lady dashed their hopes and expectations that something good should be expected from the "meeting of mothers" that should have taken tears off their faces and brought hope.
This came as protests over the non-release of the schoolgirls spread to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and Ilorin, the Kwara State capital yesterday paralysing commercial activities.
A press statement by an elder, Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association (KADA), Borno State, Mrs. Grace Allabeh Ndirmbula, read: "We were so elated and full of high expectations that with the wife of the president convening such a meeting for the rescue of our daughters, only good could come from it."
She said: "At about 3a.m. on Monday, we were awakened by a distress phone call and informed that two of our representatives were yet to return to their families. Several minutes later, we were shocked to hear that Mrs. Naomi Mutah Nyadar was detained at Asokoro Police Station for alleged impersonation of Mrs. Grace, while Mrs. Saratu Angus was dropped at her home at about 3.20a.m.
"We were also informed that they were called many names, insulted and humiliated at the meeting for the role they played in staging a peaceful protest in Abuja for the rescue of our abducted Chibok girls, going even to the extent of threatening to sack Mutah from her employment. We also learnt that the meeting concluded that “…no child is missing in Borno State.”
She said: "What a meeting of mothers! What an evil turn of the tide! God save us! It is so sad that the highest level meeting of Nigerian women stakeholders can deny the reality of the abduction of 276 girls from G.G.S.S. Chibok. On record, 53 girls have escaped through their own efforts and are already united with their families.
"It is also surprising to see that the declaration of the meeting is working at cross purposes with that of the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has deployed thousands of security personnel and appointed a committee to work toward the rescue of the 223 remaining abducted Chibok girls. A house divided against itself?"
She said: "To set the records straight and for the avoidance of any doubt and to the best of my knowledge Mrs. Naomi Mutah Nyadar, along with Mrs. Saratu Angus Ndirpaya were nominated by me Mrs. Grace Allabeh Ndirmbula to attend a meeting at which I could not possibly be present due to my distant domicile to represent KADA and the Kibaku Community at large. Mrs. Naomi Mutah Nyadar did not and had no reason to impersonate Mrs. Grace.
"All we are asking is for all the good people of this great nation Nigeria and the international community at every level to put hands on deck to bring back our daughters. They are daughters of all Nigerians and beyond. Putting blame on innocent protesters, parents, or the state government will not help to rescue these helpless girls. The more time we waste on side issues instead of majoring on what matters the more we extend their suffering and rescue more difficult."
Meanwhile, hundreds of civil society and women groups members in Rivers State marched through major streets of Port Harcourt yesterday demanding for the release of the over 200 abducted students of the Chibok schoolgirls.
The peaceful protest, which started from Isaac Boro Park through Azikiwe Road and ended at Government House Main Gate, Port Harcourt, also caused traffic gridlock along the Azikiwe Road.
The Coordinator of the Niger Delta Civil Societies Coalition (NDCSC), Mr. Anyakwee Nsirimovu, led other leading human right activists, including women, men and youths, as they sang liberation songs and displayed placards.
The inscriptions on some of the placards read: Release the Girls, Not the List; Our Girls Cannot Be Sold into Slavery; Bring Back Our Girls to Us; She Deserves to be at Home, Not in Sambisa Forest; Borno Elders, Federal Govt, All Parties Involved, Bring Back Our Girls; among others.
At Government House Gate, where they were received by Secretary to the State Government, Mr. George Feyii, on behalf of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the protesters delivered a protest letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, through Amaechi.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Nsirimovu said they embarked on the protest to Amaechi that “our girls are still missing”.
Nsirimovu, who is also the Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL), Port Harcourt, lamented that the federal government had not done enough to secure the return of the abducted girls.
“We have seen motion, we have not seen movement,” he lamented.
While asking Amaechi to reach Jonathan to rescue the girls, he also said: “We are not going to sit back anymore until our girls are rescued.”
In the protest letter addressed to the President and titled: “We are worried and afraid, too scared to let this Nation slip into chaos” which was read out at the venue, the protesters expressed deep concern that “the labours of our heroes past” were slipping off.
The letter which was signed by the Convener of Open City Africa, Mr. Perez Nekabari Tigidam, also reminded Jonathan that the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child which Nigeria was a signatory to makes it imperative for all young people under the age 18 years to be entitled to three key things; provision, protection and participation.
According to Tigidam, provision means “Good and free education, good and accessible healthcare and other forms of care.
“Protection involves “freedom from ill-treatment, exploitation, neglect, child-labour, acts of war, child- trafficking and slavery.”
In Kwara State, the Coalition of Women Association yesterday joined other women in the country to stage a peaceful protest along major streets of Ilorin over the non-release of the schoolgirls three weeks after they were abducted.
The group converged on State Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ) located along Offa Road in Ilorin before they commenced their protest.
They said: "We are worried about the whereabouts of our daughters now and government and security agencies should continue to be up and doing in rescuing the schoolgirls for their parents and guardians."
The women armed with placards with various inscription like" please, help us rescue our schoolgirls", "federal government and security agencies should be up and doing in rescuing the abducted girls", "our hearts are bleeding" among others.
The women later took their protest to Emir's palace and Government House, Ilorin where they were received by the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Peter Kisra.
Receiving the women, Kisra said: "I have personally appeared before you to receive you on this occasion, which is a demonstration of concern for what has happened to our country. I believe I am speaking to women who have experience."
"Because you can imagine at our age definitely when we speak on matters like this we are talking from experience. I lost first daughter in 1980, so I know what it takes to lose a child. Those parents who are here and who have that experience know that it is an experience you never forget.
"I agree with you on behalf of His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed who is also a parent that there is nobody who is a Nigerian, who will not feel it, with respect to what has happened our daughters and because today we are in government you can see how will feel it more, because all the good and bad that happens is on us and that is why we want to appreciate you for you concern as parents who have come out to show the great sympathy all parents deserve because their daughters are directly.
"I therefore, want to assure you that your messages which you have passed this morning will get to the right quarters. The President had already spoken. He is also concerned and we believe with all our efforts and prayers, the girls will be rescued. Because when you have this kind of experience you have nobody to depend on except God. That is why we don’t wish anybody to have this experience at all. Continue to pray and I believe as government all agencies concerned in ensuring that these girls come to safety will not sleep on their oars until we have them back. May God grant our prayers".