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Confab delegates in black to mourn Abuja bomb victims

16 April 2014, 07:42

Abuja - Many delegates at the National Conference on Tuesday dressed in black attire as mark of grief for Abuja bomb blast victims, which killed 72 and injured more than 100 people.

Shortly after reconvening from adjournment, delegates again debated on the Monday bomb blast.
The women delegates, whom Deputy Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, gave attention to speak, drew the conference attention to the reported abduction of about 200 boarding school girls in Chibok, Borno.

The school girls, aged between nine and 12, were allegedly abducted by unknown bandits who drove in a motorcade of trucks and buses and invaded the school.

Aisha Ismail, a delegate, condemned in strong terms, the abduction of the innocent children, as various suggestions were offered by other delegates on what should be done about the current security challenge.

Fati Ibrahim (North West) said “the women delegates who are mothers and wives, are in a situation of grief.”

“Today is not a day of laughing or smiling because we are all bereaved and so we are mourning and that’s why we are in black.”

“We have not gotten over what happened yesterday; this is another one (abduction of female students) happening today.”

“Mr Chairman, I’m so worried about those girls that have been abducted because we have had cases where women were raped.”

“Some of the security agencies have given reports in the past that some of these girls kidnapped in the past were raped.  Our hearts are bleeding today.”

Ebele Okeke, representing retired civil servants, suggested that the leadership, including five women, should visit hospitals where the corpses and the injured from the Nyanya bomb blast were taken to.

She said “we can have two groups with the chairman leading one group and the deputy chairman leading the other group.”

“But it is important that we do not just sit here and talk about it but we should empathise with the victims.”

“Also, these children that were kidnapped, we cannot deceive ourselves, they are going to be serially raped; most of them will not survive and those who survive are totally ruined for life,” Okeke said.

She urged Nigerians to remember the victims and the abducted in their prayers.

In her contributions, Mosunmola Umoru (youth), said the abducted girls would go through unimaginable pains and trauma, adding that the implication was grave on the country.

She queried what the funds budgeted for security had been used for and called for accountability by security agencies.

Chief Annkio Briggs, who said: “I speak as a mother, I speak as a woman,” cautioned against bringing religions or ethnicity into the killings issue.

She said the Monday bombing at Nyanya motor park in Abuja did not differentiate between Muslims and Christians or among Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.

“This is no longer about politics, it is about the security of the country,” she stressed.
Ramatu Usman, representing women, said elders should be able to identify those actually perpetrating the ugly incident.

She said “if it was possible to identify those behind the Maitasine sect, the Niger Delta militancy and the OPC, Boko Haram members could also be identified.”

-    NAN

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