The support for the over 200 abducted female students of Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State got a boost yesterday with the donation of $50,000 by the African Development Bank (AFDB) to strengthen the efforts to search and rescue the schoolgirls.
The AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, who announced the donation at a session on ‘The Gender Dividend,’ an event on the sidelines of the 2014 annual meetings and annual general meetings ,of the bank, condemned the abduction of the schoolgirls and activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Kaberuka explained that apart from contributing to the efforts to search and rescue the kidnapped schoolgirls, the bank would also help rebuild the burnt their school so that all the affected students would be able to realise their education dreams.
According to him, “as a bank, we condemned in the strongest term the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria and we are ready to assist Nigeria in the efforts to bring back these girls and any other efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
“Here in Rwanda, the bank recently won an award of $50,000, I hereby donate that sum to the Nigerian Government in their efforts to bring back the girls. The bank would also work with Nigeria to rebuild and furnish the Chibok secondary school to give the girls the opportunity of realising their dreams of a sound education,” he said.
The Gender Dividend event was designed to providing an opportunity to discuss and propose innovative and practical solutions to unlocking the productive resources for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
It was also aimed at providing a forum for sharing best practices and innovative solutions in ensuring women’s access to the productive resources that lead to gender equality and women’s empowerment, namely land and financing in Africa.
While expressing appreciation for AfDB’s concern and kind gesture, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, promised that the donation would be added to funds in the Safe School Initiative established by the Nigerian government in conjunction with the private sector.
The Safe School Initiative, according to her, was aimed at making schools safer for students, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria
Apart from making the schools safe for students in the North, she also disclosed that the federal government was ready to undertake the sponsorship of the education of students of the Chibok secondary schools.
Speaking on the solutions to end the menace of Boko Haram, when he fielded questions from select journalists, former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, said should not continue to fight the terrorists but must not rule negotiation.
In his words: “It’s really difficult to specify the solution , but as a matter of principle, the government of Nigeria must continue fighting Boko Haram but should not rule out negotiation. Because as Obasanjo said yesterday, if people have done things wrong and some of them are murderers, you cannot say I would never have anything to do with them. It means you just continue until you kill them all. That is not possible. So we must be prepared to negotiate at some stage.”
Mogae posited: “The Nigeria situation is very complex there are no table of answers but I think as a. Tyler of principles, you must use all the strategy to crush them but one must not rule out negotiation.”
He added: “I think one of the things that have happened, which is encouraging is that the countries of the region have made a declaration on total war on Boko Haram. Yes, all these countries must be fighting together by denying them access and all of them together. And not to rule out the possibility of negotiation.”