#BringBackOurGirls Statemen: #BBOGMonitoringInitiative Month 8: 14 August – 13 September 2016
Month 8: 14 August – 13 September 2016
14th September 2016
Exactly a month ago, Boko Haram released a video showing 50 of our abducted #ChibokGirls. For the first time in 853 days of being in captivity, one of our girls, Dorcas Yakubu, was allowed to speak and she made a touching plea for the release of Boko Haram fighters in exchange for her and the other girls. This is a report of what has happened since the plea-for-rescue video.
Following a week of zero communication and inaction by the President as leader of the Federal Government and Commander -in-Chief-of-the-Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, our movement embarked on a series of strategic engagements to compel decisive action to #BringBackOurGirls. Top on this was the communication of a list of six (6) demands and a commitment to re-engage the President through a protest march to the State House after every three working days.
The demands were
· That the President swiftly made a firm decision for the immediate rescue of our girls based on the three available options. 1. Military operation. 2. Negotiation with the Terrorists. 3. Combination of 1 and 2. With all the information available, the President must pursue the lowest risk option of these three.
· That the President addressed Nigerians on his Rescue Plan and Timelines of our #ChibokGirls TODAY.
· That the President constituted a #ChibokGirls Rescue Operation Monitoring Team made up of representatives of Federal Government, Parents of Chibok Girls, KADA Community and #BringBackOurGirls. This multi-stakeholders platform acts as a transparent mechanism for feedback on evidence of Mr. President’s sustained action towards bringing back OUR #ChibokGirls.
· That the President immediately presided over National Emergency in the North East Conference to articulate a cohesive response plan to the Humanitarian Crisis and designate a “Special Envoy” responsible for the inter-agency collaborative work required, as well as mobilize the private sector, Nigerian public, and the International Community.
· That the President directed the Attorney General and EFCC to set up Special Desk with the responsibility for fast-tracking the trials of the Arms Procurement Fund and providing regular updates. We rejected any suspension or termination of any of the trials without reaching a legal conclusion.
· That the Chief Justice of the Federation prioritized the trials of all Counter-Insurgency related corruption cases. Cases should be placed on fast-track with no long adjournments.
In addition, we mobilized support for rescue efforts through engagements with the embassies of the United Kingdom, France, Canada and the United States as well as The European Union and Economic Community of West African States. These we believed were necessary allies to our government due to the wealth of resources to be gained from sharing knowledge assets, security and intelligence infrastructure, as well as relevant experience. While engagements with the diplomatic community were completely successful, our democratically elected President refused to grant us an audience. Despite three blockades at the access road to the State House, by the Nigeria Police, our resolve to communicate our demands never wavered.
Our reputation as a well organized and disciplined citizens movement that strictly respects the constitution and the laws of the land was built over the last nearly thirty months of our advocacy for the abducted school girls.
Sadly, on Tuesday September 6, 2016, the Federal Capital Territory Police Command displayed an unacceptable level of intolerance and blatant disregard for our constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedoms of thought, conscience, association, peaceful assembly and movement. By unleashing a detachment of over a 100 anti-riot policemen on our civil movement and going further to attempt several cordons against our fourth march of the series, the Police ignored a judgement of a Federal High Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Furthermore, by falsely declaring our peaceful advocacy as a “security threat” whose activities “must not trample on other peoples’ rights through over-dramatization of emotions, self-serving propaganda and disrespect of public (office) holders”, the Inspector General of Police deliberately attempted to pitch us against fellow Nigerians without any evidence to back those claims.
In addition, we consider it injurious to our carefully built reputation as a global movement known for order, decency, civility, and discipline, whose model is often recommended by some of the world’s top-rated publications and researched by students of the world’s top universities at doctoral and post-doctoral levels.
We therefore demand
· that the IGP immediately and officially retracts ALL the statements levelling allegations and accusations against us (which are patently false, vindictive, and in bad faith). This is important for the public record to reflect this, and for posterity sake. A mere volte face of a counter-announcement denying banning our movement does not suffice
· That the IGP immediately tenders and widely publishes his unreserved apology to our #BringBackOurGirls movement for violation of our individual and collective rights and freedoms, causing inconvenience to us, orchestrating a hate campaign and disseminating false accusation against us with the intention of tarnishing the reputation of our movement. Further to the unreserved apology, that the IGP makes a public pledge and commitment to never again infringe the Nigerian constitution by using the Nigerian Police as a tool of oppression against us, our movement and other citizens and civic organizations.
· That the IGP forthwith tenders unreserved apology to the parents of our Chibok girls and the Chibok community who were part of our procession; for using officers of the Nigeria Police to disorganize our public event on Tuesday 6 September, 2016 and in so doing, causing these already distraught citizens even more distress.
· That the IGP immediately tenders apology to the Nigerian and the global public for misleading them in the numerous pronouncements of falsehood and for causing unnecessary and unwarranted inconvenience to motorists on Shehu Shagari Way on Tuesday 6 September, and indeed for portraying the Nigeria Police Force in extremely bad light by their words and actions
· That the President acting through the Police Commission immediately calls the Inspector General (Mr. Ibrahim Kpotum Idris) to order immediately and takes appropriate disciplinary measures against him and the other two officers (CP Alkali Usman, and DCP M. D. Garba of the FCT Command) to deter any recurrence of unconstitutional, unprofessional, lawless , and oppressive conduct in the future.
For and on behalf of