BBOG Campaigners Demand Buhari’s Visit To Chibok, Apology To Nigerians | Independent Newspapers Limited
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BBOG Campaigners Demand Buhari’s Visit To Chibok, Apology To Nigerians

Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chesa Chesa, Abuja

The BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) campaigners have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Chibok and to apologise to Nigerians for government’s inability to prevent the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls and failure to rescue them up till now.

Led by former Minister of Education, Obiageli ?Ezekwesili, the BBOG delegation which also demanded that he visits Chibok within his first 100 days in office, and welfare/rehabilitation for the Chibok parents, expressed shock that the military and security agencies were unable to protect or rescue the vulnerable girls.

The BBOG was formed by rights activists in April last year after over 200 schoolgirls ?were abducted from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram terrorists.

The visit to President Buhari marked the 450th day since the abduction of the schoolgirls.?

Responding to their demands?, Buhari who kept mum on the demand for apology, rather said it was unfortunate and paradoxical that ?Nigerian soldiers, who had fought gallantly and creditably outside the shores of the country were now unable ?to robustly confront Boko Haram terrorists at home.

He made the comments in the presence of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, who had been invited to be part of the meeting with the BBOG delegation.

“?Strategy and tactics have been drawn, multinational taskforce has been put in place more or else with headquarters in N’Djamena with a Nigerian General as Commander.

“And then the troops delegated by each of the countries are to be put in place by the end of the month. And Nigeria, I assure you ?will do its best because we as I said are the battle ground and we are being helped by our neigbours.

“It is paradoxical what the Nigerian military has achieved from Burma to Zaire to Liberia to Sierra Leone to Sudan; but Nigeria now has to be helped by Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. How are the mighty fallen!

“We will do our best to restore the respectability of our country and its institutions”, although not all efforts being made by government ?would be disclosed to the public for security reasons.

While commending the BBOG group for its resilience and aggression in the face of intimidation while demanding the release of the Chibok girls as well as its list of probable solutions, the President pledged to do his best in rescuing the girls and asked for patience, adding that for now, “I rest my case”.

Buhari added: “In representing the government of Nigeria, we cannot rationalise the government incompetence in dealing with this issue. We only ask for your patience.

“It’s unfortunate that the security and Federal Government conflicting reports initially presented the government and its agencies in a very bad light both nationally and internationally because the law enforcement agencies and the government were conflicting each other sometimes within hours or within weeks, that is not very impressive.

“The delayed and late reaction ?by the former government and its agencies was very unfortunate. ?And I thank the leader of Chibok Community for the articulated priorities he has drawn about welfare of the families, of the communities and rehabilitation of infrastructure. I think government should provide these infrastructure as a matter of right.?”

Buhari condemned the suicide missions of Boko Haram, saying that “we are pleased that in the excesses of the terrorists, they have blown up themselves.

“I think they have to change their names from Boko Haram to something else because no religion will kill the innocents. You can’t go and kill innocent people and say ‘Allah Akbar!’ It is either you don’t believe it or you don’t know what you are saying.

“So, it has nothing to do with religion. They are just terrorists and Nigeria will mobilise against all of them,” he said.

In a list demands presented by Ezekwesili to Buhari, the BBOG insisted that the immediate rescue of the 219 kidnapped Chibok will amount to the strongest statement that government has respect for the sanctity and dignity of every Nigerian life.

Other demands include strategies for curbing the emergence, and growth of curious sects. Immediate setting up of a structured feedback and communication system that is composed of the Federal and Borno State Governments through designated security and ministerial authorities, the parents of the abducted girls, the Chibok (KADA) community, and citizens, through the #BringBackOurGirls group.”

The group asked the Federal Government to immediately set up a Commission of Inquiry for Accountability on Abduction and Rescue of Chibok Girls; and release the report of government’s fact-finding mission on the Chibok saga.

They also demanded “that all Nigerians will join our #BringBackOurGirls movement to continue to advocate for our 219 #ChibokGirls until they are rescued and be prepared to embrace and welcome our Girls back home.?

“Immediate set up of a Missing Persons Bureau. Formally re-affirm the legitimacy and relevance of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign as a purely citizen contribution.”

The BBOG presented Buhari with two documents – Verification, Authentication and Reunification System (VARS) as well as #BringBackOurGirls Accountability Matrix.

Leader of the Chibok community and Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA), ?Dauda Illiya?, also made his own specific demands which include safe return of the girls, welfare, security, rehabilitation of infrastructure and a visit from Buhari within his first 100 days in office.

?”The parents of the abducted girls and the escaped girls have no doubt gone through a lot of pain and trauma since the April 14 abduction of the girls.

“Some have died or have been killed by the insurgents in the subsequent and serial raids on the Chibok community.

“Besides the parents and the escaped girls the entire Chibok community is heavily traumatised and/or displaced since April 14 abduction and subsequent serial attacks.

“We therefore, seek your assistance in urgently providing relief materials to our people who are displaced, scattered and suffering all over.

“We make bold to say that most, if not all the challenges facing the Chibok, people today are symptomatic of the general insecurity in our homeland,” he said.

“The entire Chibok community  anxiously requests that Mr. President visits Chibok within the first 100 days of this administration to have a first hand view of the plight of our people, while we look forward to the safe return of our daughters very soon,” he added.