Falana says there’s need for register of kidnapped, missing persons in Nigeria

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A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has said the federal government needs to have a register of kidnapped, released and missing persons in the country.

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This, Falana said, should be done through the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

He spoke on Monday during a virtual programme to mark the 10th anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction.

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The programme was organised by Women Radio 91.7fm.

Recall that on April 14, Boko Haram terrorists attacked the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state and abducted about 276 students.

The human rights lawyer, while commenting on adopting capital punishment for kidnappers as recommended by first lady Oluremi Tinubu, described the suggestion as “diversionary”.

He said: “I do not subscribe to any form of capital punishment because it has never addressed the root cause of the problems it is meant to address.

“While I think it is a diversionary suggestion, other Nigerians would prefer that we recommend capital punishment for the criminality that leads to corruption.

“Those who are making suggestions that kidnappers be shot at would also not want to extend that to those who loot the treasury, sometimes to the tune of over N100 billion.”

He said there is need to rekindle the interest of Nigerians in pressuring the government to ensure the release of the remaining schoolgirls who are still in captivity.

He said: “A couple of suggestions with revelation have been made, we need to, maybe through the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), have a register of those who are kidnapped, and released and a register of missing persons in our country.

“Secondly, the alleged mismanagement of the N1 billion set aside by the government to alleviate the sufferings of the parents as well as the missing students, I think it is important for us to draw the attention of the public to this aspect and that would make Nigerians interested in this matter.”

The Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), Opeyemi Adamolekun, said the relevant government agencies had conflicting figures on the exact number of schoolgirls kidnapped in Chibok.

Adamolekun, who is also a member of the #bringbackourgirls movement, raised concern over the possibility of other residents being abducted alongside the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.

She said: “On the issue about numbers, till today, the federal government of Nigeria has not produced a single document that lists the 276 girls and the context in which they were in that school that night

“We know that not everybody that was abducted was a student, not everybody was there for exams.

“One or two were there to visit and because of this, when you speak with some of the girls because the other students were not people they knew, they would say, ‘they are not part of us’ but they were in school that night.

“The ministry of education in Borno had a different number, the federal ministry of education had a different number, the school had a different number.”

 

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