ABUJA – The First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, on Wednesday lauded the global efforts to secure the release of the abducted Chibok girls from the Boko Haram insurgents.




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ABUJA – The First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, on Wednesday lauded the global efforts to secure the release of the abducted Chibok girls from the Boko Haram insurgents.
Jonathan said this when she received members of the Association of Spouses of Heads of Mission in Nigeria (ASOHOM) in the State House in Abuja.
The association was led by its President, Wife of the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Mai Anh Shoji.
“May I take this opportunity to commend your various home governments for the support towards efforts for Boko Haram to release our abducted young school girls from Chibok.
“Your visit is not only a clear testimony of your support and solidarity, it is also a manifestation of the long standing relationship between your countries and Nigeria.
“As mothers, we are very much worried because what concerns one concerns all, hence we are calling for Boko Haram to release our girls.
“Our prayer is that these young girls would be released soon by their abductors so that they can be re-united with their families and loved ones.
“I therefore wish to implore you my dear sisters as mothers, to also join us the Nigerian women in praying for the release of these our young girls,’’ the first lady said.
Mrs Jonathan, who is also the President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM), reiterated the need for peace in the African region and in the rest of the world.“Without peace, there can be no meaningful development in the world. “Let us therefore spread the message of peace in our homes, in our communities, in our countries and in the world at large,’’ she added.Mrs Jonathan explained that AFLPM had initiated peace advocacy moves which were informed by the conviction that violence constituted threat to the health and survival of women and children.
“To this end, the peace mission has undertaken peace advocacy visits to some African countries, delivering relief materials to refugees and victims of violence,’’ she said.
She listed the countries to include Mali, Kenya, Saharawi Arab Republic, Guinea-Bissau and South Sudan.
The first lady also briefed the association on the activities of her NG0, the “Women For Change and Development Initiative” and the “A. Aruera Reachout Foundation”.
She said they were set up to further the interests of women, youths and children in Nigeria.
Mrs Jonathan called for collaboration from the association to alleviate poverty, fight diseases, social exclusion and all forms of deprivation among women and children.
Earlier, Anh Shoji, noted that since Mrs Jonathan’s assumption of duty, “you have been making an indelible mark with regard to the elevation of the status of women and the protection of children in Nigeria’’.“History will remember you as a true mother of Nigeria.’’
She expressed appreciation for the first lady’s support to ASOHOM’s quest at fostering goodwill, friendship and strengthening bilateral ties.
She said ASOHOM, a non-political and governmental organisation, provides platform for interaction internally and with the Nigerian community.
Anh Shoji said that the association was also a fund raising body aimed at assisting the less privileged in the country, including women and children.
She said part of ASOHOM’s activities include annual Charity Bazaar and a raffle draw.
She said proceeds from the draw was donated to charity organisations in four states including Delta, Enugu, Benue and Kano states. 
Anh Shoji listed some of the association’s projects to include provision of medical laboratory equipment for mobile clinics to rural communities.Others are payment of school fees for the deaf and disadvantaged teenagers, nutritional and medical support to orphans and children.She said the association planned to initiate “a good reliable project” preferably around the Federal Capital Territory. “Our aim is to create a more positive and empowering influence on the lives of those whom we serve,’’ Anh Shoji said.She pledged the association’s support to the first lady’s humanitarian and charity works.(NAN)