The #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) movement yesterday in Lagos rounded off a three-day global event marking the fifth anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction.
Nigerian and American Christian, Muslim and Jewish clerics offered inter-faith prayers for the safe return of the abductees.
The 276 girls were abducted by members of Boko Haram terrorist group at the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, on the night of April 14, 2014.
Yesterday’s event marked the fifth anniversary of the abduction.
Of the girls, 112 are yet to be released. Others, including Leah Sharibu from Dapchi in Yobe State, are also being held.
The advocacy group marked the event simultaneously on three continents: Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria; London in the United Kingdom as well as New York and Washington DC in the United States.
Participants at the Lagos event – a vigil at the Falomo Roundabout in Ikoyi – included one-time Lagos State Commissioner for Finance Mr Wale Edun; #BBOG Leader Yemi Ransome-Kuti; a former president of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Ms Ayo Obe and Executive Director, Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), Yemi Adamolekun, among others.
Clerics at the event included the Senior Pastor of Trinity House Church, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo; the Imam of Lighthouse Estate Mosque, the “first-ever Islamic estate in Lagos”, Alhaji Nojeem Jimoh and the former pastor of the Church of the Brethren in Chibok, Samuel Dauda.
The event also featured the reading of a prayer written for the girls by Jewish Rabbis in New York, titled: An Interfaith Prayer for Chibok – Five Years in Captivity.
Edun thanked the #BBOG movement for keeping the girls’ plight in Nigerians’ consciousness.
The former commissioner urged the group and other Nigerians not to give up hope but to support the government’s efforts to bring the girls home alive.
He said: “We are encouraged; 112 Chibok girls are missing, previously it was 276, then 217, now 112. That is certainly progress, and the Federal Government deserves the commendation, credit and encouragement to keep bringing that figure down until it is zero.
“The President has said he is committed to bringing back all the Chibok girls as well as others who are detained against their will.
“We need to acknowledge that very worthy commitment on his part and help him in any way we can to achieve that goal.”
Ighodalo, who prayed God to bring back the remaining girls, urged Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the nation.
“Five is the number of grace. In this fifth year, the Lord will be gracious, merciful unto us… Continue to have hope; it is not over until it is over. There is hope,” he added.
Jimoh prayed for the safe return of the girls, including Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu.
He noted that Boko Haram and its sister terrorist group, the ISIS, had shown by their acts that they were anti-Islam.
Dauda, who noted that it was his first time to participate in the event, said he was nearly brought to tears by the outpouring of love for the girls.
“I was about shedding tears,” he said.
He urged the Federal Government to do its all to stem the insurgency.
In London, a panel of discussants considered the topic: #BlackLivesMatter and the #BringBackOurGirls movement: Online struggle for offline justice.
In New York, the event was marked by an overnight vigil at the Nigerian Embassy.