The Senate, the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; and groups, including the Arewa Consultative Forum and the #BringBackOurGirls coalition, on Tuesday, condemned the killing of an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Hauwa Liman, by Boko Haram insurgents.
The sect executed Liman on Monday about a month after it killed a nurse with the ICRC, Saifura Khorsa, who was abducted alongside Liman and Alice Loksha in Rann, Borno State, on March 1.
ACF, a northern socio-political group, accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of not doing enough to rescue the aid worker after the brutal killing in September of Saifura by the same terror organisation.
The forum, in a statement in Kaduna by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim-Biu, described as callous, barbaric and inhuman, the action of the group, which it said was against the tenets of Islam.
The ACF said, “The killing is clear desecration of Islam which preaches sacred inviolability of the individual.”
The group said, “Arewa Consultative Forum is saddened and pained by the sad news of the execution of another aid worker Hauwa Amina Liman by the Boko Haram terrorists on Monday.
“The Federal Government’s assurances that it has been working with some friendly countries and other international organisations to save the lives of the innocent aid workers have not yielded the desired result.
“The Federal Government should not wait for deadline from the terrorists before taking necessary actions to rescue them. Any actions by the Federal Government and the allies on this issue should be quick in order to assuage the fears of Nigerians of what may happen to those still in captivity.
Also, the #BringBackOurGirls coalition protested in Abuja against the killing of Liman by Boko Haram insurgents.
The protesters, who were stopped by security operatives from taking their protest to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, accused the President of failing to fulfil his pledges to rescue the Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, and other captives.
The group in a statement by Edith Yassin, Nifemi Onifade and Gapani Yanga alleged that the government had forgotten the hostages, including the Chibok girls.
The campaigners said, “It is evident to all well-meaning people that the parents of our remaining schoolgirls have all but been pathetically forgotten and abandoned to their fate by the administration of President Buhari.
“These were the same parents that were promised swift recovery of their daughters by Buhari when he was on the campaign trail in 2014 and 2015.”
The BBOG recalled that the President had also assured the coalition that he would rescue the hostages during two meetings with the members.
It stated, “We wish to reiterate that our advocacy for the Federal Government to rescue our 112 #ChibokGirls, #LeahSharibu, Alice and all other abducted persons in the custody of the terrorists shall not cease until they are all brought back.
“Within the coming weeks and months, we shall constantly take actions to press on with our demands, we shall not give any reprieve to President Buhari until he performs his constitutional duty and fulfils his pledge to the people of Nigeria to always put their interest above his own,” the activists stated.
Senators at the plenary on Tuesday criticised the Federal Government and security agencies for failing to secure Liman.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, moved a motion to demand a drastic counter-action by the government against the sect. He also lamented the spate of extrajudicial killings, especially by men of the Nigeria Police across the country.
Ekweremadu said, “This motion is in respect of the killing of an aid worker, Liman, by Boko Haram insurgents. You will recall that few weeks ago, Boko Haram issued a threat that they were going to kill Liman who volunteered herself to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross in the North-East of Nigeria.
“While working in that capacity, she was abducted in Borno State and yesterday, she was forced to kneel down, her hands were tied behind her and she was shot at a very close range. She was a student and left to serve humanity under the Red Cross. It was in the line of this service that she met her untimely death.
“You will recall that one of her colleagues was also killed in September in a similar pattern. She too was an aid worker. You will also recall that last week while we were debating the Federal Capital Territory’s budget, there were a lot of contributions regarding insecurity in the FCT. And yesterday, a young lady, Anita, was killed by the police.”
He said it was the responsibility of government to protect the aid workers and other Nigerians, adding those who killed Liman and Khorsa, must not go unpunished.
Seconding the motion, Barau Jibrin also condemned Liman’s killing.
The Senate unanimously resolved to observe a two-minute silence in honour of Liman, which was done. They also resolved to extend condolences to the family of the deceased and the international community where she served.
Senator Gbenga Ashafa, in his prayer, said the Federal Government through the security agencies must immediately secure the release of both Leah Sharibu and the last IRCS volunteer.
The prayer was seconded by Senator Francis Alimikhena and unanimously granted by the lawmakers.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, condemned Liman’s murder.
He said, “Irrespective of the decision that we have taken, I believe our committees on defence and security, as part of their own responsibilities, should engage with the security agencies to find out if there are other issues that need to be addressed in order to prevent the reoccurrence of such sad incidents.”
The Senate President had earlier on his personal handle, @bukolasaraki, tweeted, “I join Nigerians and the international community in condemning the murder of Hauwa Leman – an aid worker with @ICRC, by Boko Haram.
“As I said on the 18th of September 2018, humanitarian workers who go into trouble spots to alleviate people’s suffering are some of the most courageous and selfless people on the planet. They are #NotATarget.
The House of Representatives, in its reaction, asked the Federal Government to intensify efforts in securing the release of the remaining aid worker held by Boko Haram.
It also urged the rescue of Leah Sharibu and other victims. The resolution came on Tuesday after Monday’s execution of Hauwa Liman.
The House passed the resolution after a member of the All Progressives Congress from Imo State, Mr Chike Okafor, raised the matter of the aid workers, Sharibu and other victims under matters of urgent public importance.
Okafor said the government must do everything within its powers to negotiate the safe return of the last aid worker and Sharibu before it became too late.
“The government should as a matter of urgency commence further negotiations for the safe release of the remaining abductees.
“Urge the government to intensify efforts in collaborating with other countries of the world to acquire advanced technology for terrorism information gathering and satellite, full imagery devices that can help in the fight against terrorism”, part of the motion read.
Another APC lawmaker, Mr Nnana Igbokwe, observed that the case of the aid workers and Sharibu had dragged for long, an indication that the government should have done better.
“This is becoming a recurring decimal and it means that our efforts are not yielding much results.
“We must act fast to rescue the remaining aid worker and other victims”, he added.
Reacting to the killing, the Peoples Democratic Party members in the House called for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari instead, arguing that his administration had “failed” in providing adequate security for Nigerians.
One member from Rivers State, Mr Kingsley Chinda, stated, “Security is one area we have all agreed that the present system has failed.
“At first when Boko Haram started, some members preferred to shy away from discussing it. Having failed in the area of security, it is time President Buhari resigned.”
Another PDP colleague, Mr Nicholas Ossai, supported Chinda.
He said, “I adopt the position of Chinda that Buhari should resign. The government lacks the capacity to tackle insecurity.”
The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, did not, however, give attention to Chinda and Ossai’s call for resignation.
The motion was passed without the inclusion of the call for resignation in the prayers.
Killers will be punished if I become President –Atiku
The presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government to immediately rescue Leah Sharibu.
Atiku made the call on his twitter handle while reacting to the killing of Hauwa Liman by the terrorist organisation.
Also in a statement by his media office, Atiku vowed that those responsible for the killings of aid workers would pay for their actions if he won the 2019 poll.
He stated, “While nothing can bring her back, the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation wishes to assure the family of the innocent, whose lives have been brutally cut short, that we will continue to work with our partners in Nigeria and the international community to ensure that those who are still in the captivity of the terrorists and their allies are rescued alive.
The mother of Hauwa Liman has reportedly said her daughter is not dead.
Mama Hauwa as she is fondly called said she believed her daughter was still alive and could not have been killed by the terrorists as reported.
A BBOG member, Fatima Abdullahi, stated that she had spoken to Liman’s mother twice about the death of her daughter, noting that she was still insisting that her daughter was alive.
“I spoke to her yesterday (Monday), she told me she heard that Hauwa would be killed. We spoke again this morning (Tuesday), she said it was not possible that Hauwa was dead.
“As a mother, she’s not even devastated because she has not even accepted that Hauwa is dead. She’s still living in denial, hoping that her daughter will come back. She told me she is still hoping and praying for her daughter’s safe return.”
“We need to agree in this country that every life matters, every mother wouldn’t mind if you empty the vault of CBN to rescue her child. We are saddened by Hauwa’s execution and we are very disappointed,” she added.
The ICRC and the Amnesty International has called on the Federal Government to secure the release of Sharibu and pleaded with the captors to let go their hostages.
The Red Cross had raised the alarm on Sunday about the Boko Haram ISWAP faction’s threat to murder Liman within 24 hours.
The ICRC in a release on Tuesday by its spokesman, Aleksandra Mosimann, said, “A second health worker held hostage in Nigeria has been murdered. It’s utterly devastating that we have to write that sentence. The ICRC received information indicating that Hauwa Liman has been killed by her captors in a despicable act of cruelty. Hauwa is the second abducted health worker in Nigeria to be murdered in the last month.
“Hauwa, 24, was full of life, becoming a midwife at an early age. People who knew her described her as a sociable, dynamic and enthusiastic woman who was much loved by family and friends. She was truly dedicated to her work helping vulnerable women in her family’s home area.
“The ICRC made sustained and committed efforts to secure the release of the three healthcare workers, including a last-minute plea for mercy on Sunday to the Islamic State West Africa Province group, to no avail.”
The ICRC Regional Director for Africa, Patricia Danzi, said, “The news of Hauwa’s death has broken our hearts. We appealed for mercy and an end to such senseless murders. How can it be that two female health care workers were killed back-to-back? Nothing can justify this.
“Hauwa and Saifura’s deaths are not only a tragedy for their families, but they will also be felt by thousands of people in Rann and other conflict-affected areas of North-East Nigeria where accessing health care remains a challenge.”
Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday spoke with Mohammed Liman, father of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ midwife who was killed by Boko Haram terrorists, Hauwa Liman.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists. Shehu said during the telephone conversation, the President commiserated with the family and assured the deceased’s father that the Nigerian government did everything possible to save his daughter’s life.
Buhari reportedly expressed sadness that all the efforts turned out unsuccessful.
“He (the President) regretted that her commitment to helping victims of the Boko Haram insurgency ended in such a brutal way,” the statement read. The presidential spokesman said Buhari also spoke with the President of the ICRC, Peter Maurer. He said Buhari commended the ICRC for the great work it has been doing in Nigeria by providing health care services to victims of insurgency in some of the most affected areas.
“President Buhari appealed to the ICRC to continue their services in Nigeria, and not give up despite the unfortunate and painful loss of their staff.
“According to the President, Nigeria needs the ICRC and the government will continue to do all it can to protect staff of the organisation and other aid workers that are providing much-needed humanitarian services in the North- East region, which had been affected by almost a decade-long conflict.”