Premium Times (Abuja)

21 May 2014

Nigerian Teachers to Shut Schools Nationwide, Join #bringbackourgirls Protest

The Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, has directed that all primary and secondary schools across Nigeria be shut on Thursday to allow its members participate in a nationwide protest to demand the abduction of the Chibok school girls.

The NUT stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday by its president, Michael Olukoya.

"The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has resolved to hold "Bring back our girls" rallies simultaneously across the 36 States and the FCT on Thursday 22nd May, 2014.

"All schools nationwide shall be closed as the day will be our day of protest against the abduction of the Chibok female students and the heartless murder of the 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 safe and alive and the perpetrators of the heinous crime are brought to book," he said.

Mr. Olukoya described the abduction of the over 250 girls from their school dormitory as an assault on humanity and an attack on the professional industry and the school system.

"Education is the bedrock of the Civil Society and the abduction of Chibok girls and the attack on the school system is an exercise in reactionarism which is attempting to return our nation to the Hobessian State of nature where lives was described as brutish, nasty and short.

"In order that lives, peace and hope may return to our national life again we say "Bring back our girls." Mr. Olukoya said.

The union leader said the NUT had thought the kidnap was not real.

"We had received the news of the abduction as "a tale from wonderland" - a social and religious grandstanding, not real but designed to politically hoodwink the nation and therefore hoping that in matter of days, the reality would dawn on the nation that the story would qualify for its april fool of the month of April," he said.

Mr. Olukoya said the union would not view the kidnap from the religious or ethnic angle but an assault on education.

He said the Boko Haram is a terrorist organisation and that its attacks have been religiously undiscriminatory. He said the school system, primary, secondary, and tertiary had suffered the worst attacks.

The union leader mourned the death of the 173 teachers so far killed in the Boko Haram insurgency. He said 170 had been killed in Borno and 3 in Yobe.

"The NUT, on behalf of the entire teachers of Nigeria, commiserates with the families of our late colleagues and pray that the Almighty God grants them the fortitude and the large heart to bear the irreparable loss of their loved ones and breadwinners. And for our departed colleagues, may God grant them eternal rest," he said.

There has been widespread local and international condemnations since the over 250 girls were kidnapped by the Boko Haram from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14.

The federal government is currently being assisted by the U.S., U.K., France, and other countries in the search for the girls and to defeat the Boko Haram.

The group, responsible for the death of thousands of people since 2009, has said that it would not release the girls until its members across Nigerian prison are released.

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