By Tobi Soniyi In Abuja
The Coalition for Women Advancement in Africa (COWAA) has described the #BringBackOurZariaGirls hashtag created by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as the height of irresponsibility, saying it is an insult to the memories of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their schools by Boko Haram two years ago.
The women group which condemned the hashtag, accused the Shiite movement of trying to hijack the #BringBackOurGirls movement and concept.
Addressing journalists in Auja, the Executive Director of COWAA, Mrs. Jummai Samuel, charged the Shi’ite sect to immediately discontinue the #BringBackOurZariaGirls campaign and tender unreserved apologies to the families of the Chibok girls for “this insensitive act of exploiting the genuine anguish of troubled families for propaganda.”
She said while members of the sect have a right to their aspirations, what COWAA found reprehensible was their decision to hijack the #BringBackOurGirls’ movement and concept.
She said: “#BringBackOurGirls sitouts are heart wrenching reminders of the agony that the parents of abducted Chibok school girls go through daily while awaiting the release of their daughters from the captivity of Boko Haram terrorists. It is a movement that has by its doggedness compelled the Nigerian government and the international community to pay attention and explore ways of freeing the girls. It must be noted that these girls committed no crime, they were dutifully studying in their schools when they were abducted.
“On the contrary, IMN sect is accusing the military of abducting more than 50 of its girls during an operation to quell a brewing insurgency. We are not holding briefs for anyone but as parents, we found it incredulous that almost nine months have passed before the sect realised its girls are missing.
“Given these inconsistencies, we see the launch of the hashtag and protests as something thought up for its propaganda value. It is apparently an attempt to cause outrage directed at the government and its institutions after several other attempts had failed.”