…ISIS may already be running operations in Nigeria—Expert
By Emma Nnadozie, Gabriel Ewepu, Boluwaji Obahopo & Yinka Ajayi
Members of the #BringBackOurGirls, BBOG, yesterday, stormed Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, protesting the execution of an aid worker, Hauwa Liman, by Boko Haram insurgents.
This came as an international humanitarian organisation, ActionAid Nigeria, called on the Federal Government to promptly rescue Saifura Khosa, Leah Sharibu and others still in the captivity of Boko Haram terrorists.
Liman, 24, a staff of the International Committee of Red Cross, ICRC, was abducted alongside two other nurses in Rann, Borno State, in March and was killed by the insurgent group on Monday, after eight months in captivity.
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Speaking at the protest, a presidential candidate of Allied Congress People of Nigeria, ACPN, Dr. Obi Ezekwesili, said: “Our worst fears came to reality with the news of the death of an innocent soul.
“Nigeria cannot move forward if we continue to attach no value to the lives of citizens. Hauwa did not do anything wrong; her only ‘crime’ is loving her fellow citizens enough to volunteer her time and care for them.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to do all he can to ensure the release of Leah Sharibu, who is still in Boko Haram custody.”
In the same vein, Edith Yasin, a member of the group, added: “We knew there was a threat to murder Hauwa. We came to demand that justice be done. We had 30 days, yet nothing was done.
“They carried out their threat without giving her even an extra day. Where is the Nigerian government? Why is it that a particular group of people will give out such a threat and we allow it to happen?”
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On its part, ActionAid Nigeria, through its Country Director, Ene Obi, said: “We grieve with the family, friends and colleagues of Ms. Liman and we stand in solidarity with all aid workers in Nigeria, especially those who have remained brave and have continued to render life-saving services to the survivors of the conflict in North-East.
“The killing of Hauwa could have been avoided and it is obvious that the insurgents are not making empty threats. It will be a blow on us as a nation if nothing is done urgently to bring back Alice and other abducted civilians.
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“We hereby, call on the Federal Government to expedite and prioritise the safe return of all civilians abducted by insurgents and emphasise that government exhibit a greater sense of responsibility by ensuring the safety and security of citizens and fulfill its promise of ending the security challenges in the country.
“We will like to also remind the Federal Government to expedite the safe return of Leah Sharibu, the 15-year-old student, who was taken from her school in Dapchi, Yobe State, in a separate abduction in February.”
Nigerian entering new phase of terrorism
Meanwhile, President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria and a security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has warned the Federal Government about a credible threat of terrorists’ attacks in the North-East and beyond.
Reacting to the execution of Ms Liman, Ekhomu said it appeared ISWA leader Abu Musab Al-Barnawi had been replaced, as the killing of a Muslim female abductee was not something that Al-Barnawi would authorise.
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He said: “Al-Barnawi has consistently protected Muslim civilians from harm. So, I cannot see him executing a hostage due to refusal by the International Committee of the Red Cross or the Federal Government to pay ransom.
“He must not be calling the shots anymore over there. When one connects the dots, you will find that Nigeria may be moving into a new phase of insurgency.
“It appears that ISIS may already be running operations through ISWA in our country.”