by Kelly Rogge
The director of the KCKCC Henry Louis Center for Global Transitional Justice, Professor Ewa Unoke has appealed to the President and the U.S. Congress to save the lives of the recently kidnapped school girls in northern Nigeria.
On the night of April 14, 2014, about 230 girls were abducted from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno state, by a group of Islamist militants known as Boko-Haram. Boko-Haram means “Western education is a sin.” According to Unoke, “This is not only a parent’s nightmare, but a crime against humanity and peace – that your child goes to school and never returns home.”
“If the world is united in the search for the Malaysian missing plane tragedy in which 239 passengers are feared dead, the United States and the global community should also assist the Nigerian government in bringing back the innocent school girls who have become victims of adult abuse,” Unoke said. “For over one year, the northern Nigerian States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe have remained under siege because of the relentless atrocities blamed on Boko-Haram. Boko-Haram has continued to bomb buses, churches, markets, mosques, schools, bus stops and kidnap innocent women and children.”
Amnesty International estimates that more than 3,000 people have been killed by the militant group including foreign residents and United Nations’ workers. Consequently, while the Nigerian military is engaged in a lifetime battle to defeat Boko-Haram, Unoke said certain Human Rights organizations and TV journalists accuse the Nigerian military of indiscriminate killing of citizens.
“We, at the Henry Center believe that no visionary government will fold its hands while innocent children and their mothers are abducted, abused and sold as sex objects and slaves,” Unoke said. “Boko-Haram, over the years, has become more brazen in its attacks on innocent citizens. And, the Nigerian people have been living in unprecedented fear since the girls were kidnapped. Boko-Haram is opposed to the education of women because western education clashes with Sharia Law. Under Sharia Law, the role of women is at home; to take care of children and their husbands. This is why the insurgent group targets students, women and academic institutions.”
According to the founder, Mohammed Yusuf, the objective of Boko-Haram is to establish an Islamic Nigerian State with Sharia Law as national Constitution. Unoke said since Yusuf was killed in 2009, Boko-Haram has become more ruthless in retaliation and in its fight for self-determination.
“Boko Haram’s horrific act affects the U.S. national interest – security interest, economic interest and ideological interest since Boko-Haram is linked to Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group involved in the plane hijacking and attack on the U.S. Sept. 11, 2001,” he said.
According to Unoke, the blame on President Goodluck Jonathan is unwarranted because terrorism is a global challenge and no single nation is capable of dealing with this scourge alone.
“When it comes to crimes against humanity and peace, the world must shift emphasis from national interest to humanitarian interest such that an attack on one nation is an attack on all nations,” he said. “Professor Henry M. Louis whom our Center is named after, was a man of peace and an advocate for peaceful coexistence and multicultural harmony. Dr. Louis would not have kept silent in the face of the current Human Rights abuses of innocent African children.”
Unoke was a BOFF child soldier who fought against Nigeria during the Biafra – Nigeria War. For more information, contact Ewa Unoke at email@example.com or call 913-288-7119.