House Condemns Boko Haram
Parliament has condemned the activities of the Nigerian terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, particularly the kidnapping of teenage schoolgirls in that country, and called for decisive action by the international community to deal with the group.
But while some called for evidence of the action being taken by the West African regional body ECOWAS to address the problem, others stressed on the need to proceed cautiously, and said that putting efforts together to defeat the terrorist organisation in the public domain would endanger the lives of citizens in the sub-region.
The issue of the atrocities of the group came up when the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi, in a statement, called for the return of the more than 200 girls captured by Boko Haram in Chibok, Northern Nigeria, on April 14, this year.
The Chibok girls
The girls, who were students of the Government Secondary School, are allegedly being forced to adhere to the Islamic faith after their capture and are also being sold, with a bride price of 2,000 naira ($12) each placed on their heads.
On May 5, a video footage emerged in which Boko Haram leader, Abubakr Shekau, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
Shekau claimed Allah had instructed him to sell the girls and added that the girls should not have been in school.
According to him, they should have been married since in Islam, girls as young as nine are suitable for marriage.
Chibok is primarily a Christian village and Shekau acknowledged that majority of the girls seized were not Muslims.
Eugenia Kusi’s statement
Mrs Kusi said the kidnapping was heartbreaking when one considered the effects it would have on the girls and their education.
She encouraged the Nigerian government to do more to bring back the girls and urged all Ghanaian women to join the campaign to bring back the girls.
“This is sad and can happen to our daughters and nieces,” she said.
What other MPs said
The member for Ablekuma South, Mr Fritz Baffuor, said the kidnapping should not be seen as a problem for Nigeria alone but the entire continent.
He called for an intensification of efforts to bring back the girls.
The member for Akuapim North, Mr William Ofori Boafo, said across West Africa, there were millions of people with Western education and added that if Boko Haram was allowed to succeed in Nigeria, the millions of Western educated people could become targets.
“So we do not have to treat what is happening lightly, “he said, adding that ECOWAS needed to act visibly to “set our hearts at rest.”
West Africa, he said, needed to stand together against the new security threat emerging in the sub-region, adding that if action was not taken, investors would take their money elsewhere.
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, member for Anyaa/Sowutuom said unemployment was a contributory factor to the growing militancy and terrorism in Nigeria and other parts of the continent and called for policies to provide jobs for the youth.
The member for Pusigah, Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC), said the Qur’an was against compulsion in religion and, therefore, the capture of the girls and the compulsion placed on them to become Muslims was wrong.
The member for Bimbilla, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, described Boko Haram as a ruthless organisation.
He said when dealing with them, one needed to exercise caution and use secrecy as one of the “weapons”.
Otherwise, he said lives could be endangered.
He called on all member states of ECOWAS to help deal with the problem.
The member for Asawase, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, said the actions of Boko Haram had dented the image of Islam.
He observed that some Muslims, especially in Nigeria, had failed to integrate with non-Muslims and had segregated themselves.
That, he said, resulted in a narrow world view and led to terrorism.
He cautioned against the use of force alone to deal with the problem, adding that dialogue also needed to be employed.