A Time To Take Action

IMG_0560-0A TIME TO TAKE ACTION: DEMANDS FOR A COMPREHENSIVE ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS THE MISSING CHIBOK GIRLS AND THE DEEPENING CRISIS IN THE NORTHEAST

A Press Statement by the IAMCHIBOK Coalition on the One Year Commemoration of the Chibok Girls Abductions April 14th 2015

 

On April 14th, 2014, 276 school girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, North East Nigeria. One year later 219 girls are still missing. Despite international outcry, the situation that surrounds the abductions of the girls has deteriorated to a deepening crisis in the North East of Nigeria. We strongly condemn the crimes against children, women and men, further abductions of persons, the use of girl children as suicide bombers, the onslaught of sexual slavery and sexual violence, the attacks on human life and dignity, the targeting of educational and religious institutions and the continued insecurity.

 

We are dismayed by the government’s failure to respond to the social and psychological crisis of parents and families of the abducted girls, many of whom have died in the last year. We ask for urgent attention to be paid to the millions of Nigerians impacted by the crisis most of whom are in need of protection and care.  We condemn the abuses against women and children in IDP camps which should be a haven of safety.

 

We further decry the failure of the Nigerian government to address the systemic issues underlying the crisis including the low level of development in Northern Nigeria which has created a fertile ground for extremism and social discontent. We note the urgent need to address the long term implications of the crises, including girl-child education, rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers and the impact of the insurgency on community stability, agriculture and food security.

 

We welcome efforts by the United Nations and the international community including the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC). We take note of various regional, continental and international efforts including the Paris Summit and other regional summits including the resolutions of the AUPSC, the United Nations Security Council, the larger UN body and various national legislative bodies. Lastly we hope for the immediate implementation of their resolutions to combat terrorism in the region.

 

OUR DEMANDS

We hereby call for the creation of a comprehensive, systematic ACTION PLAN FOR THE RESTORATION OF NORTHEASTERN NIGERIA to address the short and long term implications of the crisis, facilitate the rescue of the Chibok girls and other abducted persons, rehabilitate and reintegrate them, restore families and reconstruct communities while putting in place concrete measures to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again. We hereby make the following demands:

 

1)     RESPONSE AND RESCUE

We commend the establishment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNTJF) and recommend that all necessary support be given to support its operations. MTNJF is a critical instrument for ensuring effective resolution to the occupation of cities, towns and villages and the rescue of the Chibok girls and other abducted persons. We urge the operationalisation of the the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC), the African Standby Force (ASF) and its Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC). We recommend the set up of a SPECIAL MISSION FOR THE SEARCH AND RESCUE OF ABDUCTED PERSONS under the MNJTF to ensure that all missing persons are found and rescued and restored to Nigerian soil, where necessary.

 

2)     REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION OF VICTIMS

We recommend the establishment of a SPECIAL TASK FORCE FOR THE REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION OF PERSONS as a joint operation of the National Emergency Management Agency, the National Human Rights Commission and other relevant Agencies. The Task Force will be charged with putting in place adequate support structures for the complete rehabilitation and reintegration of all victims, refugees and internally displaced persons. It will manage the Victim Supports Fund and can establish, among other programmes, a FAMILY TRACING AND REUNIFICATION PROGRAMME (FTR). We demand the comprehensive identification of victims’ bodies through DNA testing and the compensation for all families who have lost members in the crisis.  The immediate set up of HEALING CAMPS AND HEALING CENTRES for the holistic rehabilitation of persons who have suffered from abuse and trauma with qualified mental health practitioners and other relevant professionals must be a priority.

 

3)     RESTORATION OF COMMUNITIES

We demand documentation of the activities of the Victim Support Fund and drastic improvements in the situation of Internally Displaced Persons with systematic and time-bound actions to restore communities and rebuild livelihoods and the collapsed education system under a POST CONFLICT SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY LIVELIHOODS PROGRAMME.  We recommend the expansion of the SAFE SCHOOLS INITIATIVE to include interim schooling for IDP children and the restoration of the education system in all affected states. We recommend the creation of a CIVL-SOCIETY PRIVATE SECTOR COALITION to increase and mainstream civil society and private sector participation under the coordination of the National Human Rights Commission with support of development partners and the private sector.

 

4)     JUSTICE AND TRANSPARENCY

We call for the establishment of PUBLIC HEARINGS modeled after the process in Rwanda after the genocide, which will allow persons to tell their stories and have these stories documented as crimes against persons and communities. We recommend the establishment of a CIVILIAN COMPLAINTS REGISTER in which citizens can make complaints and document crimes under the National Human Rights Commission. We demand a SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY ON THE ROLE OF THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT IN PROTECTING CIVILIANS to investigate the role of the Nigerian government and cases in which it has neglected to protect its citizens during the years of Boko Haram insurgency and occupation.

 

5)     PREVENTION

We demand for the immediate set up of a comprehensive EARLY WARNING AND RESPONSE SYSTEM and support of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).  We urge for the immediate set up of a NATIONAL CHILD HELPLINE. We recommend the creation of a Local Government REGISTER OF CITIZENS and advocate for the strengthening of HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS within the country which would include support for the training of Armed Forces in Human Rights with strict adherence to international laws guiding military action and conduct with civilian populations. We recommend the set up of comprehensive governmental and non-governmental programmes to support the development of children and youth and their social and economic inclusion and the establishment of counter-terrorism mechanisms within Nigeria, ECOWAS and the ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF CENTRAL AFRICAN STATES (ECCAS).

 

As members of civil society we commit ourselves to continued advocacy for the above demands while at the same time putting in place programmes and projects to assist in our own capacity. We offer the collective assistance and expertise of hundreds of civil society organizations around the world and thousands of individual volunteers who have selflessly advocated for the cause of the girls to work with the Nigerian government, the United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS, the ECCAS  and all related international and national agencies and organizations to make the rescue of the Chibok Girls and other captives a reality while ensuring that what has taken place NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. We believe that these actions will lead us closer to the rescue of the Chibok girls and the restoration of peace and stability in North Eastern Nigeria. A nation is only strong when it protects its weak.

 

 

Signed:

 

 

R. Nanre Nafziger-Mayegun

Hafsat Abiola-Costello

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli

Professor Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome

Habiba Balogun

Dr. Nnenna Mba-Oduwusi

Steve Bisi Aborisade

Ngozi Obigwe

Samirah Farouk

Titilope Akosa

Ramaa Mosley

Pamela Braide

Adeola Awogbami

Amy Oyekunle

Fadekemi Akinfaderin-Agarau

Feyi Boroffice

Biola Alabi

Olayide Akanni

Victor Adejoh

Magaji Buba

Osayi Alile

 

 

For IAMCHIBOK COALITION

FACT SHEET: U.S. Efforts to Assist the Nigerian Government in its Fight against Boko Haram

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2014

FACT SHEET: U.S. Efforts to Assist the Nigerian Government in its Fight against Boko Haram

In April 2014, the world was horrified to learn that the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram had abducted approximately 270 girls from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. In the six months since, some girls have been reunited with their families, but most remain in captivity, and Boko Haram has continued to terrorize the region. This year alone, the group has abducted hundreds of men, women, girls and boys and killed 3,000 people in Nigeria. President Obama has directed that the U.S. government do everything it can to help the Nigerian government find and free the abducted girls and, more broadly, to combat Boko Haram in partnership with Nigeria, its neighbors, and other allies. This support takes many forms but the goal is singular: to dismantle this murderous group.

Advisory Support to the Nigerian Government

The United States is assisting the Nigerian government to undertake more concerted, effective, and responsible actions to ensure the safe return of those kidnapped by Boko Haram, including through on-the-ground technical assistance and expanded intelligence sharing.

Multi-Disciplinary Team

· In May, the United States dispatched a multi-disciplinary team to Abuja to advise the Nigerians on how to secure the safe return of those kidnapped, encourage a comprehensive approach to address insecurity, and establish a capacity to respond more effectively in the future. These officials provide guidance to the Nigerian government on conducting a comprehensive response to Boko Haram that protects civilian populations and respects human rights.

· The team includes civilian and humanitarian experts, U.S. military personnel, law enforcement advisors and investigators as well experts in hostage negotiations, strategic communications, civilian security, and intelligence. The team continues to facilitate and coordinate information sharing and the provision of assistance for survivors and their families.

Expanded Intelligence Sharing

· The U.S. government also has provided the Nigerian government with Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) to aid Nigeria’s efforts to locate the missing girls.

Sanctions Against Boko Haram

In recent years, we have helped isolate Boko Haram’s leaders by leveraging our own authority to designate them as terrorists and by encouraging the United Nations to do so as well.

· In June 2012, the State Department designated Boko Haram’s top commanders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. In June 2013, the State Department added Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s official leader, to our Rewards for Justice Program and offered up to $7 million for information leading to his capture.

· In November 2013, the State Department designated Boko Haram and Ansaru, a splinter faction, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. This designation empowers U.S. law enforcement and the Treasury Department to pursue these violent extremist organizations.

· The United States worked closely with Nigeria to pursue terrorist designations at the UN Security Council for Boko Haram, which were approved and took effect on May 22, 2014. These designations prohibit arms sales, freeze assets, restrict movement, and encourage regional cooperation.

Continued Engagement to Counter Boko Haram

The United States is committed to supporting efforts by Nigeria and its neighbors to combat the threat of Boko Haram more effectively and in a manner that respects human rights through a variety of assistance programs designed to advance regional cooperation, bolster rule of law, and strengthen security institutions.

· President Obama announced Nigeria’s participation in the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August. SGI is a new Presidential initiative in which the United States and Nigeria will work to improve security sector institution capacity to protect civilians and confront challenges and threats, with integrity and accountability. To support a longer term focus, SGI involves multi-year funding commitments of increased U.S. support and requires sustained, high-level leadership and commitment by partner countries to pursue policies in support of the agreed upon goals.
· Nigeria is a partner in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, a U.S. government effort to enhance regional security sector capacity to counter violent extremism, improve country and regional border and customs systems, strengthen financial controls, and build law enforcement and security sector capacity.

· The State and Defense Departments are launching a $40 million Global Security Contingency Fund for Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to counter Boko Haram. The program will provide technical expertise, training, and equipment to the four countries to develop institutional and tactical capabilities to enhance their respective efforts to counter Boko Haram, and to lay the groundwork for increased cross-border cooperation to counter Boko Haram.

· We work closely with other international partners, including the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, to enable information-sharing, alignment, and coordination on international strategies and programs to counter such threats in the region.

Support to Populations Affected by Boko Haram

Boko Haram is inflicting untold hardship on the people of Nigeria, with repercussions for men, women, girls, and boys throughout northeast Nigeria. The United States provides assistance to affected populations, including support to health, water, and sanitation services; the delivery of emergency relief supplies; and protection services, including psycho-social support for survivors of Boko Haram violence. The United States further invests in helping Nigeria to build security and increase opportunity in northeast Nigeria, including through education programs for girls and boys; maternal and child health services; and programs to strengthen democracy and governance and counter violent extremism by engaging leaders across society, including women.

· The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides trauma counselling to survivors and their families, including those directly affected by the Chibok abduction, through a $4.5 million, five-year (2010-15) program. USAID also recently completed its third training for psycho-social support teams based in Borno–the locus of Boko Haram’s violence. The role of these social workers, health care providers, and other community members is to sensitize communities to prevent stigma against abductees when they return, and to provide psycho-social first aid to girls and their families.

· USAID is starting two new programs that will address critical educational needs for both girls and boys in northern Nigeria. A $20-30 million crisis response program will provide basic education to internally displaced persons and others affected by the violence in the northeast. In addition, a flagship five-year, $120 million program will strengthen education systems so that they can provide greater access and improve reading among primary school children.

· In support of the contributions women make to peace and prosperity, USAID is promoting women in leadership and peacemaking through a series of conferences and workshops. Training exercises in Kano and Sokoto states promoted tolerance across ethnic and religious lines through engagement with influential religious, traditional, and women leaders. Women participants came out with a plan to use “naming ceremonies” (common across most Nigerian cultures) to carry out campaigns against hate speech and electoral violence. Interfaith media dialogues discussed how women and other stakeholders can prevent electoral violence in the run up to the February 2015 elections and how women can contribute to Nigeria’s political and economic progress.

· USAID is launching the Nigeria Regional Transition Initiative to improve stability and strengthen democratic institutions in northeast Nigeria. The initiative will focus on building the resistance of communities vulnerable to the effects of violent extremist organizations, weak governance, and insecurity through increased positive engagement between government and communities; increased access to credible information; and support to reduce youth vulnerability to violent extremist influences.

· The State Department supports efforts to facilitate dialogue between local women activists and security-sector personnel and to highlight the role of female law-enforcement officers. State also supports a Hausa-language multi-media platform which includes a free-to-air satellite TV channel designed to serve northern Nigeria. The channel highlights the rich cultural diversity of northern Nigeria while offering programming with themes that reject political violence and violent extremism. It also includes programming intended to meet the needs of mothers with young children. One show highlights as role models women who have overcome obstacles and now own their own businesses or have obtained higher education. The objective is to show that any girl can grow up to be a strong contributor to her society

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