The Federal Government remains open to negotiations to secure the release of over 200 schoolgirls abducted in April, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Joy Ogwu, said in an interview with #CNN on Friday in New York.
Mrs. Ogwu said the international community should use the momentum created by the #Chibok schoolgirls’ kidnapping to reflect and “go forward” in the fight against terrorism.
It is now more than 100 days after the schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in Chibok, Borno.
“Instead of a military option, the strategy has widened to include negotiation and dialogue with these people. I believe that it is time to move forward really, to find a solution to this problem, to find the girls first and foremost,” Mrs. Ogwu told the CNN.
The Nigerian UN envoy said Nigerians were traumatised by the fact that the schoolgirls have been kept by the terrorists for over three months.
She said Nigerians have not given up hope on the release of the girls as they have persevered in prayer vigils, protests and appeals to their abductors to free them.
“I believe that it is time for us to get together in a concerted action. At the UN, where I am Nigeria’s Permanent Representative, I made a statement in 2011 when the UN building in Abuja was bombed. I noted, very unequivocally, that violence and suicide are not in the character of the Nigerian. This is an alien culture. It is an external influence and it is important to work concertedly with all nations to make sure that it is not implanted in our culture.
“We forbid suicide as a people and people who commit suicide are not given a decent burial. So, what indoctrination is that, that persuades a young person who is named a terrorist to strap himself and bomb people or to abduct children? This is an alien indoctrination and part of the strategy to deal with it is to de-radicalise these people. They must be de-radicalised to become normal people again,” Mrs. Ogwu said.
According to the Human Rights Watch, #BokoHaram has so far been responsible for the death of 2,053 civilians in 95 attacks during the first six months of this year.
In May, at the request of Nigeria, the terrorist group was added to the UN Security Council’s al-Qaeda-linked organisations subject to an arms embargo and asset freeze.