#BBOGMonthlyMonitoringInitiative – Month 1: 14 October to 13 November 2016
Monday 14 November 2016
Today is Day 945 of our #ChibokGirls’ abduction, Day 535 under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch, and Day 930 of consistent #BringBackOurGirls advocacy.
We are delighted that between our last #BBOGMonthlyMonitoringInitiative and today, one more #ChibokGirl Maryam Ali returned on Saturday 5 November; 196 are still in terrorist captivity.
B. Report on 30-day monitoring of the Nigerian government’s efforts to #BringBackOurGirls
On 22 August we commenced a series of engagements for a period of slightly under 3 weeks, which included marching to the State Houser every 72 working hours to emphasize the necessity for president to be decisive and act on any of the only 3 available options for our girls’ rescue, namely: (a) to negotiate the release of our girls, (b) to mount a military operation for our girls’ rescue, and (c) use a combination of (a) and (b).
We just wanted an end to the numbing inertia and so as we have done over the two years of our advocacy, we demanded that Mr President quickly brought the tragedy to a closure by making a decision and acting on it to bring back our girls! On Day 900 of the abduction on 30 September, we commenced a 30-day monitoring of the federal government’s activities in this regard. We declared that failure to rescue our girls after the monitoring period, our Movement would increase the frequency of our marches to every 48 working hours.
Two weeks after our monitoring commenced, precisely on 13 October, we received the pleasant news of the return of 21 of our missing 218 #ChibokGirls. Like the rest of the Nigerian and global public that have shared solidarity with our girls, we were delighted to see emotional images of the 21 girls as they reunited with their parents. We welcome the assurance by the Federal Government that it is working assiduously to bring back the rest of our girls. So, while we continue to celebrate the return of now 22 #ChibokGirls within the last three 3 weeks, we urge the government to speed up efforts so the rest of the 196 girls on or before the end of 2016. We will as usual keenly play our vigilance role as a citizens’ movement and support the government as it seeks to achieve this objective.
C. Deplorable condition of troops and insufficient equipment undermine counterinsurgency war
Within this time, gory tales of the deplorable conditions of our troops at the frontlines emerged, as well avoidable deaths of troops with others missing in action. The poor handling of our troops at the frontline: arrears of allowances and poor feeding have been reported since February this year. We find this unacceptable and therefore call on the military authorities to correct this. Also disturbing is the near silence of the army authorities on the alleged missing 83 soldiers in combat. The chief of army staff was reported in the media to have given up on finding and rescuing them barely one week after they were announced missing.
We must again assert that our troops should be provided with ordnances. Adequate and appropriate tooling of soldiers with the right weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles (ie for instance armoured personnel carriers as against the current open pickup vans), military gear, maintenance tools. All these enhancement of tools would not only help our troops to accomplish their task quicker and more efficiently but also safeguard them and minimize preventable deaths. The wounded among our soldiers should also be treated expeditiously and in a dignified manner. We regret that the same issue of an ill-equipped, and poorly motivated troops is again resurfacing under this dispensation.
It is urgent to execute a comprehensive operational review of the war in order to address any creeping decline in effectiveness. We, like the rest of Nigerians look forward to less casualties among our soldiers in the war front. We are determined to honor our heroic soldiers and have launched an initiative #NigeriansHonourOurHeroes for that purpose.
D. Humanitarian tragedy of internally displaced persons (IDPs)
In recent times, there have been several reports of the deplorable condition of internally displaced persons (IDPs) along with their sexual violation by security operatives and others emerged. The official response by the president was an expression of ‘shock’ and the usual ‘order’ to the inspector-general of police (IGP) to inquire into the matter and bring the offenders to book. This is not the first time we have heard such routine and uninspiring reaction of the Government to the scandalous inhuman conditions of IDPs. The IGP is yet to publish his report. We expect to see immediate arrests, prosecution and conviction of all offenders. Our movement is very interested in seeing this matter resolved and will therefore continue to monitor it to assess the outcome of the presidential order.
The President should immediately call the Borno State Governor to order for his shocking blame of the victims when he adduced the “loose morals” of some of the IDPs as the reason for their sexual abuse by state officials. We find it utterly disgraceful and unacceptable that such victim-shaming pronouncement could be made by the governor who has the primary responsibility for his people suffering in unhealthy camps. We therefore advise the Governor to immediately collaborate with the Federal Government to improve the conditions with the camps and prevent any more such predation of women and children by callous public officials who owe them state care.
Day 1,000 of the abduction is in January 2017. We most certainly do not want out daughters to spend 1 000 days in captivity. We call on the world to rally round and support the Nigerian government which it appears is committed to return our girls to do so speedily.
To our committed and sacrificial troops and other security agencies at the frontlines and their families, we send our warm solidarity. You are never alone, and be sure that you are appreciated. Nigerians and the world salute you.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls