Free other hostages too, not just Chibok girls, Senate tells negotiators

The Senate has urged those involved in the negotiation that led to the release of the 21 Chibok students to look beyond the girls and secure the freedom of more hostages.

During Tuesday’s plenary, the upper chamber noted that a large number of people asides the schoolgirls are still being held hostage by the terror group.

Speaking on the matter, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, said at least 1,000 persons are still in Boko Haram captivity.

He said: “The 219 girls are not the only girls that were abducted. Their (exact) number is not known but there are more than 1,000 of them, I can bet on that. Some of them have gone unnoticed; some of them are missing; some of them, only God knows where they are and in what condition they have found themselves.

“I want to thank you on behalf of Chibok people and to beg you to continue to stand by them because these girls and the people of Borno and the North-East, generally, need Nigerians more than ever before.”

Supporting Ndume’s motion, Senator Abiodun Olujimi from Ekiti-South, calls on all stakeholders to focus on securing the release of all abductees.

She said: “Like the Senate Leader said, there are so many other girls who have gone unnoticed and are still there in Sambisa and elsewhere. We believe that they should not be left to their fates. And it is not only the Chibok girls that are most important but all Nigerians that have been captured by the Boko Haram.

“The time has come for the government to also come out and tell us about what is going on and how far we have gone with Boko Haram. Every day we hear ‘we have conquered’ and the next day there is a bomb blast; there is daily escalation. We need to know where we are. Nigerians need information.”

Olujimi further noted that “we need to know that those girls are not going back into captivity because they are going back to Chibok. If Chibok is still not safe, it is something we also need to think about.”

She praised the armed forces, Red Cross, and the Swiss government for their role in negotiating the release of the girls.

Olujimi, however, urged men to support women in achieving their goals and aspirations, but not only in the kitchen and the “other room,” as stated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In response to his wife’s recent criticism of his government, the President had said the First Lady only belongs to his “kitchen, the sitting room and the other room.”

The Senator said: “We pray that as we stand, as girls, not only in the kitchen but in the Senate and every important place, the men will support us to achieve our goals and be able to aspire to be whatever we want to be in Nigeria.”

However, another Senator, Binta Garba from Adamawa-North, proudly owned her place in the kitchen.

“That (kitchen) is my primary constituency; to be in the kitchen before even being in the Senate. As a woman, I am proud to be in the kitchen and even the other room,” she said.

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