Women’s league, Nigerians march for kidnapped girls

2014-06-04 00:00

THE provincial ANC Women’s League yesterday marched through Durban to raise awareness about the plight of more than 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria about three months ago.

As part of commemorating International Children’s Day, a few hundred people, including members of Durban’s Nigerian community, marched from Botha Park to the city hall where they handed over a memorandum to Victor Okebugwu, chairperson of the Nigerian Union in Durban.

Provincial ANCWL deputy chairperson Dolly Shandu said they were concerned about the conditions the girls were faced with. She called on all African Union affiliates to assist the Nigerian government in devising a plan to rescue the girls.

“This is no longer about those girls but about the ongoing abusive treatment meted to women and children the world over. These young girls have had to endure tough and most probably humiliating conditions at the hands of Boko Haram. We are appealing for their safe return to their parents, where they belong,” said Shandu.

Nosipho Ugwu, a Nigerian Wives representative, said, “Those girls’ lives have changed for the worse when they were kidnapped. As a woman, I can’t help but to shudder when I think of what they are going through. It is every woman’s nightmare to wake up and hear that their daughters have been kidnapped by terrorists and were kept in the jungle,” said Ugwu.

“My fear is that they have already been violated and if they are rescued alive, they will need counselling for them to learn to accept and trust people,” she said.

Okebugwu said their hearts were bleeding for what has happened to the girls. “We know these children are in an unsafe environment, and they are in danger. Because Boko Haram is a network of terrorists, I’m happy to see that our South African brothers and sisters are holding our hands in this time of sadness.

“We need to give the Nigerian government space to handle the situation in a manner that will not further endanger those children’s lives,” said Okebugwu.

He said he would hand the memorandum to the Nigerian Consular General during the course of the week.

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