Shock, anger trail Boko Haram killing of aid worker

Members of the Bring Back Our Girls protesting against the killing of Hauwa Liman, abduction of Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls, Rann women and others at the Aso Villa gate in Abuja …yesterday. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO.

• Our daughter not dead, parent insists. Buhari speaks with father
• Ohanaeze, ACF, CAN, others mourn
UN seeks culprits’ arrest

Hearts saddened by the shocking execution of Hauwa Liman received a fresh stab yesterday as her traumatised parents rejected news of their daughter’s death.

Hauwa, an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was executed on Monday after the expiration of a deadline by Boko Haram.

But her distraught father in a television interview yesterday said: “I am not sure whether they have done it or not, up till now. I want her corpse, if really she was killed. Let them bring her corpse, so that I can bury her in an Islamic way, so that our hearts would be at peace. Otherwise, we would never forget this incident.”

The ICRC however confirmed the killing. “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 Mohammed 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,” the organisation wrote on its website yesterday.

Reacting, President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted: “Today (yesterday), I spoke with Mohammed Liman, father of Hauwa, the ICRC midwife killed by Boko Haram. It is not the kind of telephone call anyone prays to make. The Federal Government did everything possible to save Hauwa’s life; it is tragic & regrettable that all our efforts were unsuccessful.”

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He expressed hope that the incident would not “discourage the ICRC from working in Nigeria,” promising that the Federal Government would do all in its power to protect humanitarian workers.

Condemning the execution, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres said: “Those responsible must be brought to justice.” In a statement by his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, he expressed his deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Hauwa, and solidarity with the president and staff of the ICRC.

The Senate and the House of Representatives also renewed calls for the freedom of the abductees, Leah Sharibu and another ICRC worker, Alice Loksha. They urged the presidency to expedite action on the matter. The Senate further mandated its committee on security and national intelligence to meet with security chiefs to find a lasting solution to crises in the country.

On its part, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) called on the Federal Government to review its negotiation strategies with Boko Haram. In a statement by Spokesman Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, the ACF advised: “Any actions by the Federal Government and its allies should be quick to assuage the fears of Nigerians on what may happen to those still in captivity.” The group also commiserated with the affected families.

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, issued a statement where it regretted the helplessness of the nation’s security agencies in the face of Boko Haram attacks. “As long as the headship of the nation’s security agencies are determined by tribal origin and analogue security chiefs who have their tenures illegally extended, the forage by the insurgents would be hardly contained,” the group said.

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) commiserated with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the families of the aid workers. In a statement, CAN president, Rev. Dr Samson Ayokunle, called on persons behind wanton killings in the country to repent and reconcile with the entire populace.

Also, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, commiserated with the family of Hauwa, describing the murder as callous and unfortunate. Health workers should not be targeted in any conflict zone, as they are recognised as humanitarian service providers, he said.

The official organisation for the Obiageli Ezekwesili’s #Hope2019 movement for the Nigerian presidency suspended its pre-campaign activities in honour of Hauwa. Ezekwesili tweeted: “Help us, Lord. Help us. Help our government to rise up in all its might, no matter how weakened. Help our leader to decisively and permanently confront all those that kill off our young, our old, our men, our women. Our people can’t keep being killed.”

In yet another reaction, Tom Lever, in charge of the Africa regional office of Global Amnesty Watch (GAW), noted: “The gruesome killing of the aid worker has confirmed that Boko Haram is a group driven by mindless wickedness and one that must be collectively dealt with by the entire world.

“We urge the Nigerian authorities to continue to tighten the noose around the terrorists until the last of those being held captive by Boko Haram is released. The desperate action on the part of the terrorists must not be allowed to slow down the operations meant to restore normalcy to the region.”

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