The Nigeria Union of Teachers has ordered the closure of all primary and secondary schools in the country on Thursday (today) in protest against the abduction of the over 200 female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
Members of the union are also to hold “Bring back our girls” rallies simultaneously in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.
The President of NUT, Mr. Michael Olukoya, made this known in a statement amid reports that Boko Haram killed 19 people in a village near Chibok on Wednesday morning.
In the statement on Wednesday by Olukoya, who is also a National Conference delegate, the NUT demanded the safe release of the schoolgirls abducted by the sect on April 14.
It also called for adequate compensation for the families of 173 teachers killed by the Islamic militant sect during attacks in Borno and Yobe states.
The statement reads in part, “All schools nationwide shall be closed today (Thursday) which will be our day of protest against the abduction of female students in Chibok and the heartless murder of 173 teachers.
“We remain resolute in our resolve to continue the campaign even as we mourn the death of our colleagues until our girls are brought back alive and the perpetrators of the heinous crime brought to book.
“We demand that both the federal and the respective state governments should exhibit true concern to the families of the 173 teachers – 170 from Borno and three from Yobe State – who lost their lives to the barbaric, uncivilised and wicked acts of terrorists by paying them adequate compensation to assist in soothing their misery.”
The NUT also called on the Federal Government to properly secure all schools in the country to ward off incessant attacks by the insurgents.
It said it was unfortunate and painful that the school system had suffered the worst attacks by insurgents.
Urging the federal and state governments to provide insurance cover for both students and teachers in the troubled states, the union advised that education should be declared a fundamental human right .
At the National Conference venue in Abuja, some delegates staged a mild protest and demanded the release of the abducted female pupils.
The protesters were delegates in the Committee on Labour, Civil Societies and Sports.
They wore white, black and green shirts with the inscription “Rescue our girls now.”
The leader of the group and Founder of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said Boko Haram must release the girls alive.
She said, “We are worried that since April 14 when our girls were abducted, we have not heard anything from them. We are therefore embarking on this mild protest to demonstrate the fact that we feel their pains.
“The Boko Haram terrorists have murdered sleep and they shall no longer sleep. I can tell you that as parents, we have stopped sleeping long time ago and that is why we are gathered here to reiterate the fact that the terrorists have done havoc to our young girls.
“We cannot accept our girls to be swapped for the release of Boko Haram criminals who are being held by security agencies across the nation’s prisons. We want them back alive.”
Also, the Chairman of the Committee, Mrs. Bola Ogunrinade, said, “As parents, we are concerned and we don’t know where the girls are. The girls will come back alive. Nothing must happen to them.”
Other delegates, who participated in the protest include a Vice -President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Issa Aremu; the Leader of Market Women , Mrs. Felicia Sanni; and a former Peoples Democratic Party Woman, Leader, Mrs Josephine Anenih.
Boko Haram kills 19 near Chibok
Meanwhile, Boko Haram again struck in Alagarno, in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State, killing 19 people and carting away food items.
Alagarno is about 30 kilometres from Chibok and 117 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
According to the residents of the village, the insurgents, on arrival at about 4am on Wednesday set ablaze several houses after killing children, women and men.
A resident of the village, Mallam Umaru Saina, told journalists on the telephone that a young woman was missing after the attack.
Saina said, “They destroyed everything we have and burnt down our foodstuffs. The most painful thing is that they killed children, women and men.”
Attempts to get a confirmation from the Army and Police spokespersons in the state proved abortive as they could not be reached on their telephone lines.
Sources in both police and the army however revealed that troops had been sent to the village.