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Friday, December 1, 2023

Open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan: Act now in defence of Africa’s girl child

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We, Women in the Positive Women’s Network appeal to you to hear the 239 families, who have lost their daughters, whilst they were at school, and were abducted by vicious men, as punishment for pursuing education – a basic and universal right for children of the world, and now we are told the girls will be sold into slavery. We appeal to you to intervene in order to secure their immediate and safe return to their families.

By now it is known that on 15 April, 2014 at least 230 young girls were abducted from Chibok Government School by Boko Haram terrorists, under the cover of darkness. Since then, many months   have passed and there has been no indication of where the girls are, nor the conditions under which they are being kept. As women we know and share the debilitating anxiety and pain which comes from not knowing where or how our loved one’s might be. We are concerned that the shared hope we hold, that seeking the education that was to transform their lives has led into this unimaginable horror and nightmare.

We urge that it is of utmost importance that the girls are found and restored to safety, for the future of all young girls in the Continent. We believe that unless the perpetrators of this vile act are apprehended and brought to justice, the right of every young women, to education, is at stake.

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Prudence Mabele

Executive director

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Positive Women’s Network

[email protected]



Why the inaction on Ebola virus?


Dear editor,

It amazes me that back in 1989 an experimental lab in Reston, Virginia, USA, was exposed to the Ebola virus and lives were lost as depicted in the book, “The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story.”

For 25 years since this outbreak there has been little information, and no vaccines invented to ward off a possible epidemic. Nearly half of all victims of this virus will die.

Now we are hearing from authorities that this epidemic has cost $600 million so far and could grow even further in days and months to come. Why is it that instead of being proactive we wait as a nation in a wait-and-see holding pattern? Will this virus make it through our borders? If history is a predictor of future events, then it probably will.

Marie Njie

Bakau New Toiwn




Re: African boat people


Dear editor

The next time you eat a fish from the Mediterranean, just remember that it may well have eaten a corpse. As the Italian author Aldo Busi told the press just the other day: ‘I don’t buy fish from the Mediterranean any more for fear of eating Libyans, Somalis, Syrians and Iraqis. I’m not a cannibal and so now I stick with farmed fish, or else Atlantic cod.’ Personally, I prefer my fish natural, fattened on drowned human flesh, but there you go. I take the point.

Foolishly, last October Italy’s left-wing government became the first European Union country to decriminalise illegal immigration and deploy its navy at huge expense to save ‘illegal’ migrants crossing the narrow Sicilian channel in open boats from North Africa (Libya mainly) in order to bring them to Italy and thus the European Union — where most remain. Few get sent back: sent back where, exactly?

The decision to open the floodgates came in a moment of national moral panic after 366 people drowned in a single boat which caught fire and sank a stone’s throw from an idyllic beach on the island of Lampedusa, an exclusive resort favoured by the right-on rich. The dead included a mother who had given birth during the voyage and was still attached to her newborn child when divers found their bodies trapped inside the sunken vessel.

The policy change, driven by a perverted mix of human decency and political correctness, was pure folly: it has acted as a green light to wannabe boat people everywhere, whose numbers soar as the chaos in Africa and the Middle East escalates. The result is an exodus of biblical proportions out of Africa into Italy. So far this year, more than 100,000 boat people have arrived in Italy — two thirds of them brought ashore by the Italian navy. That is more than double the number who arrived in 2011, the previous record year. It is estimated that the total by the end of 2014 will surpass 200,000. 

I was heartbroken to read about the so-called Gambian woman who gave birth on a boat while trying to enter Europe. Our governments must do more to give our people hope so that they do not have to think that they have to get to Europe by all means necessary in order to build a better future for themselves and their families.


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