Nigeria @ 54: Protesters Storm Abuja, Protest President’s Inaction On Chibok Girls

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Several protesters today stormed Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to register their displeasure with what they called the Federal Government’s disregard for the plight of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State in mid-April. A group called the Citizens Arise Movement of Nigeria (CAMON) organized the protest at Eagle Square, Abuja.

The protesters moved around the Federal secretariat in the capital city, chanting anti-government songs that expressed dismay with the state of affairs in Nigeria. The coordinator of the group, DIno Melaye, condemned President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech to mark the country’s 54th Independence anniversary. He said the speech was uninspiring and flayed the president’s reluctance to speak on the fate of the 219 girls abducted by insurgents on April 14.

Citizen Arise Protest President’s Inaction On Chibok Girls

Mr. Melaye said the Nigerian constitution conferred on the president the status of a father, adding that Mr. Jonathan should be concerned about the plight and welfare of Nigerians in line with section 14 of the constitution.

A one time member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Melaye also accused Mr. Jonathan of doing too little to fight corruption, asserting that most of the country’s ministers were neck deep in sleaze.

“I want to say that the president’s speech this morning is not different from the one he had been giving before. It has become a normal tradition. Unfortunately, the president addressed the nation this morning, the 54th birthday of Nigeria and he did not say anything about the missing Chibok girls. This is calamitous and painful,” said Mr. Melaye.

According to him, President Jonathan “is not the father of the nation because no father will have missing children, 219 of them, and would carry on as if nothing is amiss. We are here to tell the president he needs to be born again. He needs to respect his oath of office.”

The protest leader added that Mr. Jonathan “swore to protect the lives and security of Nigerians on the 29th of May, 2011. He held the Bible and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 14 of that constitution is very clear, that the security and welfare of the people will be the primary objective of government.

“But the president has forgotten the welfare of the Chibok girls. He has forgotten the welfare of missing Nigerians. We are not happy. We are calling on the president to demonstrate capacity.”

Mr. Melaye also called on the president to speedily bring an end to insurgency in Nigeria, stressing that there would not be any meaningless development without security of lives and property of the citizenry.

“Insurgency must stop now, killings must stop now, unemployment must stop now, insecurity must stop now, corruption must stop now,” said the outspoken former representative.

Asked why his group chose to protest on Nigeria’s Independence Day, he said, “We are here today as Citizens Arise of Nigeria to demonstrate and protest against maladministration, protest against corruption, insurgency and ineptitude in government.

“We are here to say that Nigerians are disenchanted and disillusioned about the state of affairs in the country. Nigerians are yearning for good governance. Nigerians are demanding government with capacity. Nigerians are for a president [who] will behave like a true commander of the Armed Forces.”



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