Barely 24 hours after Boko Haram announced its murder of another female Red Cross aid worker, tears flowed freely as members of the Bring Back Our Girls group protested in Abuja.
Hauwa Liman of the International Red Cross, who was abducted by Boko Haram in March, was on Monday killed by insurgents.
To register their agony and grievances over the killing of Liman, members of the Bring Back Our Girls group, with family members of Liman and friends held an unusual protest, as they wept uncontrollably while quietly marching to the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Former Education Minister and prime mover of the BBOG, Oby Ezekwesili, who was among the protesters, also shed tears.
Speaking to security operatives at the precincts of the Presidential Villa, coordinator of the group, Edith Yassin, accused the Federal Government of failure to protect the country’s citizens.
She said with the killing of Liman, the government had proved that it was not ready to end the Boko Haram menace.
Meanwhile, the group in a statement signed by Yassin and other leaders, such as Nifemi Onifade and Gapani Tanya, expressed worry over what it described as government’s obvious neglect of the remaining 112 Chibok girls kidnaped since 2014, and called for their safe release as well as Leah Sharibu.
It said: “Today is yet another dark day in our nation. The heart-breaking news of the death of Hauwa Leman comes as an extreme shock, which leaves us devastated by the deeply regrettable consequences of the Government’s failure.
“Hauwa was a nurse working to save lives of the vulnerable in the North-East. She was a young lady who selflessly dedicated her life to serving humanity, as a staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“However, she, along with her colleagues – Alice Ngaddah of UNICEF and Saifura Ahmed of ICRC – were captured during an attack on Rann on the 1st of March 2018.
“This is how they have come to be referred to as the #RannWomen. The attack in Rann left a number of casualties in its wake – including the loss of security forces stationed to secure them.
“In regrettably similar circumstances to her colleague, Saifura, Hauwa has also been brutally murdered following a threat by the terrorists and the failure of a government that has a constitutional duty to protect her. She was a 24 years old Nigerian citizen who has had her hopes, dreams and life snatched away. Hauwa, Saifura and Alice should never have been targets. This loss is a loss for every Nigerian. Saifura is gone. Hauwa is gone. How long before the tragedy ends for others who remain in captivity?”
In a related development, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said the murder of was a despicable act of cruelty.
According to Patricia Danzi, ICRC’s regional director for Africa, “the news of Hauwa’s death has broken our hearts. We appealed for mercy and an end to such senseless murders. How can it be that two female health care workers were killed back-to-back? Nothing can justify this.
“Hauwa and Saifura’s deaths are not only a tragedy for their families, but they will also be felt by thousands of people in Rann and other conflict-affected areas of north-east Nigeria, where accessing health care remains a challenge. We urge the group holding Alice and Leah to release them safely.”