#BBOGCountdownToMay29: Weeks 2 and 3: 26 April – 9 MAY 2015
Weeks 2 and 3: 26 April – 9 MAY 2015
10 May 2015
Today is Day 391 since the abduction of our #ChibokGirls from their dormitory in Government Secondary School (GSS), Chibok on 14 April 2014. It is also Week 3 of our #BBOGCountdownToMay29 which as would be recalled is our monitoring initiative of the National Security Adviser’s bold assertion on 14 April 2015, that our abducted Chibok schoolgirls would be rescued and returned home safely before the May 29 handover date to the incoming government. We therefore have been tracking everything that is reported by credible and verifiable media sources regarding the counterinsurgency effort. We aggregate, organise, digest and analyse objectively to see if we are on track in achieving this set target as declared by the NSA. We remain committed to seeing this through to the very end.
A. THE KEY ISSUE: WHERE ARE OUR #CHIBOKGIRLS?
We in #BringBackOurGirls have been overjoyed like other Nigerians with the rescue of several hundreds of our fellow citizens by our Military in the last two weeks. Even though it is a matter of deep concern that our Government never conveyed nor confirmed their abduction when they took place, we are still extremely happy to see our fellow compatriots freed from captivity to begin the long and arduous journey of healing and reintegration to their communities.
Ironically, even as we celebrate the recent rescues our anxiety over our #ChibokGirls has mounted more. We are very unsettled with the eerie silence on there whereabouts by our Military/Federal Government. When the Federal Government announced through the words of the National Security Advisor on April 14, that military would storm Sambisa Forest and rescue our #ChibokGirls before May 29; their parents’ and our expectation rose to stratospheric levels. And now, with so much onslaught against the terrorists in that forest and many rescues made, not one of our 219 ChibokGirls is reported to be found as yet. So we are forced to ask:
– Where exactly does the government know our chibok girls are and when shall they be rescued?
– What happened to military and human intelligence that our government ought to have on our girls?
– Where are our girls?!
We have stated in the past that our #ChibokGirls are the symbol of the failure that resulted in the abduction of several of our citizens and the occupation of our territory by a band of insurgents. It is with their rescue and safe return that we can complete the cycle of success so far achieved in the counterinsurgency effort.
We therefore insist that the Federal Government and military should revamp their rescue strategy for our 219 #ChibokGirls. It has become obvious that there has not been effective use of military and human intelligence to enable precision and focus in their rescue effort for our #ChibokGirls. It is time to consider a new approach. It is time to stop failing our 219 girls who trusted their Government and answered the call to be educated. It is time to end the misery of their parents who have hoped against hope in the many words of assurance of our President and the military. It is time to finally #BringBackOurGirls.
Below are our other observations and concerns of the 2 preceding weeks:
B. MATTERS ARISING
1. The military has put number of our returned citizens from Sambisa Forest vaguely as “over 1 000”. But our calculations of the numbers it has put out in the media on different occasions is exactly 987 citizens (ie 293 + 234 + 160 + 275 + 25), especially women and children as at Wednesday 6 May 2015.
It would be recalled that we had stated clearly 10 days ago, at the occasion of our one-year commemorative lecture that we find it heartwarming that our citizens who were in captivity with our common enemies are being returned.
We however find it distressing that such a large number of our fellow citizens were missing but our Federal Government/military had never deemed it necessary to disclose to nigerians. As a matter of fact, whenever asked in the past to confirm the veracity of media reports of cases of abduction, the government either demurred or reacted with hostile rebuttal.
We have plans to present our in-depth position on this issue on future date.
2. Discovery of Mass Killing of Hundreds:
The media had reported the mopping up of over 400 fresh bodies of men, women and children, killed and scattered around Damasak on Monday 27 April, 2015. This fresh report is one more reason why the FG/military must not only allow for independent and more transparent reportage of the on-going counterinsurgency operations, but must be seen to encourage it. This is standard practice. This will help keep citizens abreast of communities that are still totally unsafe for habitation as our gallant troops continue to battle the insurgents. At it stands, the unitary source for information on this sensitive mission, namely the Directorate of Defence Information and their PR consultant does not measure up to international best practice.
3. Worsening humanitarian conditions in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps:
There has been a report of the dearth of basic amenities like food, water and shelter at the Kuje IDP camp, as well as others. This highlights the gap in the management of the welfare of citizens who have been forced out of their homes and communities in the northeast by insurgents. There are still many more camps and settlements in and around the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Nasarawa, Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe states. We reiterate the responsibility of government does not stop at rescuing citizens from terror. Nigeria must protect the dignity of vulnerable citizens and victims of terror.
4. Two terrorists attacked College of Administration and Business Studies, Potiskum the day before yesterday, Friday 8 May. One of them, a suicide bomber detonated at the car park dying in the process. The other, a gun man was apprehended and handed over to the police. A few students were wounded by gun shots and a many more while trying to escape. Happily, there were no fatalities this time.
We commend citizens for vigilance, alertness and for acting proactively. We the citizens must always take responsibility for our security and cooperate with the security forces for the best results. We also commend them for their civility, and for believing in the system by not lynching the apprehended terrorist to death, but him over to the constituted authourities — the Nigerian Police Force.
To the police, we demand that the case of this apprehended terrorist must not die or be buried as that of all the numerous others earlier apprehended. The handling of apprehended suspected terrorists has always being shoddy, opaque and leaving much to be desired. For instance, since 30 June 2014, Major-Genenal Chris Olukolade, the Defence spokesman announced that a key terrorist operative, Babuji Ya’ari had been apprehended in connection with the abduction of our Chibok girls on 14 April 2014, and was in custody. Close to 11 months the public is not informed on progress being made with his interrogation and the investigation it may have triggered? if he partook in the abduction of our 219 girls and they are still not back, why has he not been made to provide the information that can help locate them?
Likewise, 2 weeks ago, one “Abu Mojaheed” a terrorist “top commander” was said to have been apprehended. We have been demanding for his image and profile as a basic rule of disclosure.
The police therefore must this time justify the confidence placed in them, by being transparent and professional in handling this process. This will help boost public confidence, increase cooperation by citizens and communities and therefore improve operational results in the war against our common enemies.
From every indication, it appears that the terrorists are under immense pressure, and are getting desperate. We encourage our gallant men and women of the military in the frontlines, and the Civilian JTF to stay strong and sustain this momentum. Their daily efforts are deeply appreciated.
For us, in the #BringBackOurGirls movement, there shall be no retreat no surrender of our advocacy until our #ChibokGirls are rescued by the government of Nigeria. Our demand is, and remains “Bring Back Our Girls Now and Alive!”
We remind that today is 10 May 2015; 19 days to May 29 the handover date.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
Hadiza Bala Usman