Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday expresses optimism that the search for the over 200 Chibok school girls kidnapped on April 14, 2014 will end in the safe return of the girls back home.
The Governor spoke when members of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Campaign Group, under the auspices of the Women for Justice, staged a peaceful protest to the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.
He told the protesters that like many Nigerians, he was extremely pained that the girls were still missing for the past 500 days, however urging them to continue to pray for the girls to return home safely.
“As a parent, I empathize with their parents and understand how they feel. I can only add my voice to that of millions of Nigerians and our friends from the international community that the girls will soonest come back home”, he said.
Governor Ambode also commended the organisers of the peaceful protest for their initiative to engage in the rally to remind Nigerians and keep hope alive for the missing girls, while assuring that his administration strongly aligns with President Buhari`s pledge to do all within his capacity to ensure that that the girls would be rescued alive.
“I quite appreciate the initiative of your organisers to fight for the missing girls. Let me say we quite appreciate your concern. I want to say categorically that my administration strongly believes in the pledge of President Buhari that the girls would come back alive”.
“Most of us were very concerned and pained when the girls were declared missing and we were more disturbed about the reaction of the then President, Goodluck Jonathan which was globally condemned as inadequate”.
“We thank God that President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to bring back our girls. I want to say categorically that my administration fully identifies with the position expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari that the girls will be brought back alive”, he said.
Governor Ambode assured that his administration would continue to cater for the internal displaced persons as demanded by the group.
Earlier, Coordinator of the Bring Back Our Girls Group in Lagos, Ms Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, in her address read by Dr Abiola Akiode, recalled that exactly 500 days ago, about 276 female students of Government School, Chibok in Borno State were abducted by Boko Haram, 57 of them managed to escape on their own while 219 remain in captivity.
“We are aware that the Chibok girls are not the only victims of the insurgency in the northeast but because we know their names, their pictures and parents, we will continue to use them as symbol for the ongoing crisis in the country. We can`t claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents”, she said.
The team told the Governor to impress it on the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) to take a strong stance for action to curb the insurgency, rescue the Chibok girls and other Nigerians and as well cater for internally displaced peoples across the country.