National Assembly members from different political parties yesterday expressed solidarity with the people and government of Nigeria following the abduction of more than 200 girls from a school three weeks ago by the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram. The parliamentarians were debating a motion moved by Mufakose representative Ms Paurina Mpariwa to present a report on a conference in South Africa last November on legislators’ responses to violence against women and girls in Africa.
Buhera Central representative Cde Joseph Chinotimba said Africa should take action against Boko Haram as a matter of urgency.
“As Zimbabweans, we should all condemn what happened in Nigeria. As African countries, we should all condemn that act and unite and send forces to Nigeria to find those girls,” Cde Chinotimba said.
Southerton representative Mr Gift Chimanikire said the abduction of the girls was a primitive act.
“The heinous activities by Boko Haram are condemnable. In this day and age we are supposed to be civilised and not act in this barbaric manner,” he said.
Cde Sabina Mangwende added that it was unacceptable that human trafficking was continuing unabated.
“What has happened in Nigeria is painful especially to women. It is also painful that women continue to be the victims of human trafficking,” Cde Mangwende said.
The girls were abducted at a boarding school in Chibok, northern Nigeria on April 14.
A video from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau on Monday showed some of the abducted girls. Shekau demanded the release of Boko Haram militants held in Nigeria’s jails in exchange for the girls’ freedom.
Cde Annastancia Ndlovu also expressed her solidarity with Nigeria.
“We don’t know where they are and pray to God for their speedy release,” she said.
The Senate also condemned the abduction and Sen Chitaka said Africa should unite to secure the release of the girls.
“It is important that this Senate sends a strong message of disapproval. Africa must not tolerate this abuse. These girls must be released without conditions,” said Sen Chitaka.
Manicaland Senator Judith Mawire (Zanu-PF) said she never thought Africans would do that to each other.
“I am shocked by men in Africa who have no respect for women,” she said, sentiments echoed by Matabeleland North Senator Thokozile Mathuthu.
The Nigerian government is searching for the girls while China, United States, Britain and France have offered assistance.