• Amaechi indicts govt over abduction
• Stop insulting my husband, says Jonathan’s wife
SADNESS, tears and anxiety characterized the 2014 Children’s Day celebration nationwide yesterday due to the continued captivity of the Chibok schoolgirls, abducted 44 days ago by the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram.
And in Abuja and some states like; Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos Enugu , Nasarawa, Ogun Benue , instead of the traditional match past and funfair, hundreds of children massed around, either in protest match or prayers for the release of the over abducted schoolgirls.
In a related development, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, of Rivers State has said the kidnap of the school girls in Borno State, will usher in a new beginning in the political history of Nigeria.
Also, President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife , Patience, yesterday absolved her husband of responsibility for the predicament of the abducted Chibok girls and appealed to Nigerians to stop hauling insults at him. Rather, she said critics should commit themselves to proffering solutions to how to find the girls.
The President’s wife , who stated this when she hosted children at the Banquet Hall of State House, Abuja to mark this year’s Children’s Day celebration, however declined to deliver a “Letter of Appeal” given to her for onward delivery to Boko Haram for the safe release of the abducted girls on the premise that she did not know the militants.
Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State yesterday announced free bus ride to and from school for students and pupils in uniform in both public and private schools.
In an emotion-laden gathering in Abuja for a news briefing to commemorate the event, with the theme, “Unite for Peace of Nigeria: Unite for Children,” the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina, lamented that the girls’ abduction has robbed the nation of the joy of Children’s Day celebrations.
The minister said: “I feel a sense of privilege to have another opportunity to interact with you as we mark year 2014 National Children’s Day, though on a very sad note, being that our Chibok girls are still in captivity.
“This is because, before now, Children’s Day celebration was usually full of fun and merriment for our dear children across the country. Unfortunately, terrorists have taken away our joy with the kidnapping of our girls who are supposed to be celebrating with us today.
Assuring on Federal Government’s commitment to the rescue of the girls, she enjoined all stakeholders and organizations to join the fight for the release of the children.
In Ekiti State, children protesters matched against the continued captivity of the girls to the Government House, where they presented their position to Governor Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu.
Making their presentation, Speaker of the Children’s Parliament, Ilesami Oluwaseun, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the students rejoin their friends and families.
Similarly, the usual Children’s Day fanfair was lacking in Ilorin, Kwara State, where the celebration turned to prayer session yesterday to reflect the nation’s mood over the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
The event, attended by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, governor’s wife, Deaconess Omolewa Ahmed, and some government officials, had a low turnout of pupils and adult.
In Lagos State, several organisations stormed the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja to protest inability of the Federal Government to rescue the abducted school girls.
The protesting groups include; Center for Global Peace Initiative (CGPI), The Young Muslims Association (TYMA), Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), Al-Mu’minaat Social Advocacy Project (SAP), Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit and League of Muslim schools’ Proprietors (LEAMPS) and Pure Heart Foundation (PHF)
Amaechi who blamed the Federal Government for its inability to protect the children, said this incident should spur Nigerians to take their fate in their hands by voting out the ruling Peoples Democratic Party led government which he accused of abdicating its responsibility to protect life and property.
The governor stated this while addressing children and their teachers at an interdenominational church service marking the 2014 Children’s Day celebration held at the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt yesterday.
“The blame is on us; your parents and those of us who are in government. We owe you the responsibility of safety; we own you the responsibility of good education, so that you can become for us the future parents when we depart this world. All of us are guilty of this crime; because in 2011, we went and voted for this government. So, we are responsible for the kidnap of Chibok school children, because we chose the government; you chose me and you chose the president. If, therefore, you are not able to protect the Chibok girls, then, all of us, especially the government in power, should be held responsible for the lives of the children of Chibok”, he added.
Amaechi emphasized that the kidnap of the girls was divine in the sense that God wanted to use the incident to expose ineptitude of the leaders and the pervasive corruption in the country which had pathetically become widespread.
Patience Jonathan made the appeal when she hosted children at the Banquet Hall of State House, Abuja to mark this year’s Children’s Day celebration, however declined to deliver a “Letter of Appeal” given to her for onward delivery to Boko Haram for the safe release of the abducted girls on the premise that she did not know the militants.
The President’s wife who frowned at the way Nigerians were abusing her husband , said it was not morally correct and noted it smacks of disobedience to God’s command, saying, “It is bad to abuse our country and the President because God has made him the head. The Almighty God commands us to pray for our leaders. We therefore need to pray for the development of our country and the President.”
“Today, as a mark of our appreciation of the hardship that many of our parents are encountering and the financial challenges many families are experiencing, effect from tomorrow morning, any Edo child in school uniform going to or from school, whether in private or public school, will no longer pay for using the Comrade Bus.”, Oshiomhole added.