BBOG: Security Operatives Stall Ezekwezili-Led Protest To Aso Rock | Independent Newspapers Limited
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BBOG: Security Operatives Stall Ezekwezili-Led Protest To Aso Rock

Posted: Aug 23, 2016 at 6:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The proposed protest of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) advocacy group to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was stalled on Monday by a barricade mounted by a combined team of the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The BBOG group had scheduled to take its protest to the Presidential Villa, where the protesters hoped to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to re-echo their demand for the rescue of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

The protesters first converged on the Unity Fountain, near Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, at about 10a.m.

They later marched down to the Federal Secretariat Complex, precisely, to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, located around the Three Arms Zone, opposite the National Assembly complex.

After noticing the presence of heavily armed security personnel around, they made bold to move further to the popular Bullet Bus Stop, which is the entrance to the Presidential Villa, but the mobile police, numbering over 60 men and women, formed a barricade, preventing the protesters from going further.

Independent spotted some of the BBOG members carrying placards with inscriptions such as ‘Mr. President we want results’, ‘Will our girls be ever rescued?’, ‘Mr. President, decide now, act now’, ‘Mr. President Go to Borno and lead from the front,’ among others.

Meanwhile, the BBOG members had their numbers swelled by some applicants who had earlier applied for the 2014 Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise but were dismissed after undergoing the requisite training.

The NIS applicants had on Friday, last week, staged a similar protest at the entrance of the Villa, where they were also prevented from going in by police.

At the Bullet Bus Stop, some of the protesters sat down in the middle of the road leading to the Presidential Villa, allegedly on the orders of the convener of the group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education.

In the midst of the protest, a shouting bout ensued between Chuks Obasi, Chief Superintendent of Police, in charge of the operation, and Ezekwesili.

Oby, as she is fondly called, demanded for reasons why the march could not proceed to meet Mr. President as planned.

The two got into a shouting match that played out as follows:

Oby: Officer, don’t point your finger at me; put your finger down. Don’t point your finger at me.

Obasi: Madam I will point finger at you.

Oby: They can’t possibly stop us here and don’t they have anyone in charge? We want the officer in charge.

Obasi: I’m in charge of the operation here. We are here to ensure that this march does not lead to breakdown of law and order. We are here to ensure that this march does not assume violent dimensions.

Oby: If I heard you well sir, you are here not to stop us from engaging Mr. President. Can I make a demand? That you have us make it to the Villa first gate and president meets us there. We wrote to ask for this. We are law-abiding citizens. Can you ask your people to remove the cordon to enable us engage our democratically elected president?

However, at end of the argument, the BBOG leaders asked their members to occupy the road where they eventually conducted their sit-out while the police and men of NSCDC watched on.

Addressing the protesters and journalists at the scene, the former minister of education, who could not hide her disappointment at the action of the security operatives, explained that the march was organised after the failure of government to take action on the video of Chibok girls released by their abductors on August 14, 2016.

Her words: “We have been stopped from proceeding further. We had written requesting for a meeting with the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, our President, President Muhammadu Buhari, following the video in which Dorcas Yakubu made a plea that our Chibok girls be rescued.

“We waited to see action in that regard. That video was released on the August 14, 2016. Today is August 22, and we have seen no clear action to rescue the girls. That is why we are here, having written already to Mr. President that we need clarification”.

At the sit-out, chairperson of BBOG Strategic Team, Aisha Yesufu, read out the group’s message to President Buhari.

?According to her, the Federal Government would need the capabilities and experiences of international friends to improve the probability of success in the pursuit of options of rescue of the girls.

“We, therefore, call on President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, President Hollande of France, Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in particular to support Nigeria with all their military and intelligence assets to rescue or secure the release of our Chibok girls.”