Nigerian artistes – Nollywood and entertainment stars will be leading a peaceful march through Lagos streets on Thursday, 29th May, 2014, to press for the quick release of the abducted Chibok Girls as part of their activities to mark Democracy Day.
The celebrities are worried that seven weeks after the girls were abducted not much progress seems to have been made to bring them home. The march is being organized in collaboration with civil society organisations, ReclaimNaija, grassroots groups and community associations.
In a press release signed by their media coordinator, Qasim Akinreti, the organizers said the march is important in order to draw the attention of the authorities and the international community to the need to expedite action in bringing home the abducted girls.
The Coordinator of the street walk, Nollywood star, Patience Ozokwor, a.k.a Mama G, said “It will be a betrayal of trust, for society to allow the girls to remain with their captors. Children look up to us adults to protect them from harm. We must not let the innocent girls down. We must not relent in our efforts. We must keep pushing until they come home”.
She lamented the fact that the issue of the return of the abducted girls is being politicized, saying that children should be kept away from politics and safe from violence. “We just want our children back. Which mother or parent can come to terms with their daughters being captured and left at the mercy of terrorists” she added, emphasizing that the responsibility of making sure the girls come home safely falls on all of society including the international community.
She called on fellow Nollywood and entertainment industry celebrities to make the needed sacrifice to come out and join the march, which is scheduled to begin at 9. am from the Allen round about, on Thursday, 29th May, 2014. She said that the captured girls will be looking up to them as celebrities and role models for many young people, to add their voices to the call for their release and safe return.
Speaking on behalf of the co-organisers, the coordinator of ReclaimNaija, Ngozi Iwere said the march was planned to take place on Democracy Day to remind Nigerians that Democracy is about fostering the well-being of all citizens, and the continued captivity of the Chibok girls is a slur on collective efforts to build a strong democratic culture.
She stated that all people of goodwill must shun attempts to use this heart-rending issue for a futile blame-game that leaves the Chibok girls even more vulnerable. “All public officers and governments irrespective of political affiliation, and all people of goodwill must work together to get our Chibok Girls released and bought back home, alive and well,” she said.
Nigeria will mark 15 years of uninterrupted democracy celebration on 29th May, 2014. Nigeria returned to democracy on 29th May 1999 with the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).