#BBOGMonthlyMonitoringInitiative: Month 2: 14 February – 13 March 2016
Monday 14 March 2016
Today is exactly 700 days since 276 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok were abducted in their school on 14 April 2014; 57 escaped, 219 remain missing. Today is also 31 days to exactly 2 years since this horrendous tragedy that blights our humanity took place.
One month ago on 14 February we launched our monthly monitoring tool, the #
Today we are delighted to present the second report covering 14 February to 13 March.
B. Matters Arising from Last Month’s Report
1. In our maiden report, we began with our 14 January engagement with Mr President, outlining the specific action points and commitments made by the administration. Regrettably, 2 full months after, there is NO evidence available to us that any of the commitments has been or is being worked on.
2. Unfortunately, the outcome of investigations carried out with the arrest of Jarasu Shira, who was said to be a Boko Haram ‘kingpin’ with significant role in our ChibokGirls’ abduction is still being awaited. According to the Military, a Boko Haram ‘top commander’ was also captured and another operative on the Most Wanted List killed.
We expect the public would be appropriately informed of the outcome of these investigations. Also, we consider it very important that clarification be made as to who a Boko Haram kingpin, mastermind or commander is, and what distinguishes one from the other. How many have been killed or captured? How many are out there known to our Security forces?
3. We requested that the military provides exact figures, as against approximations of the numbers of those rescued in the counterinsurgency effort, their identities and updates on their welfare. These would, among other issues, help to enhance their human dignity.
In the past month, the military has been giving exact figures of women, men, children rescued, including items recovered. In some cases, the reports cover the number of fatalities and those wounded in the combats. This is very commendable. We hope that soon, the full reports would be made public for each operation as earlier requested.
4. In the last report, the Department of State Security, DSS apprehended an ISIS recruiter along with recruits. This time the police arrested yet another recruiter with another set of recruits.
C. Synopsis of Month 2 Under Review in the Media
1. Women and Children rescued from Boko Haram captivity are facing stigmatization and discrimination. The women are unfairly termed ‘Boko Haram wives’.
2. Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai says Boko Haram has been ‘largely defeated’, and that the rescue of our Chibok girls is underway.
3. Senator Shehu Sani -who it would be recalled had on different occasions facilitated the meeting of an ex-Nigerian president with the family of the late Boko Haram founder and another with Boko Haram leadership in order to secure the release of our Chibok girls- insists that they are alive, and offers solutions on how they can be brought back if the government is willing.
4. Another returnee from Boko Haram captivity relayed her encounter meeting some of our Chibok girls. This provides a credible lead as to their whereabouts.
5. The Dutch Embassy has pledged technical support from their home country for the reconstruction of the Northeast. Turkey has also indicated interest in supporting the counterinsurgency effort.
The United States is considering resending her special operations troops to boost the capacity of Nigerian forces, after leaving in 2014.
The Nigerian defence minister, Mansur Dan-Ali announced that South Africa is to send her special forces to fight Boko Haram. However, the South African defence ministry spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini responded thus, ‘There is no such decision to send any military elements by the RSA [Republic of South Africa] to assist with fight against Boko Haram.’
6. Key roads in Borno formerly under lockdown for years have been reopened for civilian use, particularly the Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu federal highway.
An Army Motorcycle Battalion has been composed to man the route. Commendable as this is, we are of the opinion that it is better to have a joint police-military patrol, and eventually a police patrol team as against a purely military one; as it is not the duty of the military to police a civilian space considering that the road is now open to civilians. This we believe will free the military to go farther into the hinterland to decimate the insurgents.
7. Prosecution of former military service chiefs over misappropriation of defence funds meant to fight the insurgency and rescue our Chibok girls has begun with the ex-chief of defence staff.
We urge all Nigerians to closely follow the details of proceedings in these trials.
8. Three schoolgirls kidnapped in their school in Lagos were rescued after 6 days, and kidnappers arrested due to focused leadership by the Lagos state governor, swift deployment of the police and a results-oriented rescue mission.
We commend especially the Lagos state Governor and Police Commissioner for a diligent job and, for their empathy and professionalism in keeping the public abreast of the efforts of the State. Their collective actions assuaged the people’s apprehension and instil hope and confidence in the rescue efforts.
We feel had our Chibok girls been pursued with this same zeal and focus by the previous administration, they could have been rescued and brought home by now.
9. Commander of the United States Africa Command, General David Rodriguez says President Buhari overstated Boko Haram’s losses by saying that Boko Haram no longer holds any Nigerian territory.
This statement is clearly counterfactual to our military’s regular briefings on the dislodgement of the Boko Haram sects from all territories they hitherto occupied.
D. Next Steps
1. In exactly 4 weeks from today, it will be Two (2) full years since the abduction of our Chibok girls in their school on 14th April, 2014. We are hopeful of their rescue before then. Irrespective of what may come to be, whether they are successfully rescued or not, we shall mark the milestone with a Global Week of Action starting Friday 8th April through to Thursday 14th April, 2016. The symbolism of what our Chibok girls represent must never be lost on us.
We urge everyone to kindly mark their calendars, start planning and be ready to make the events memorable and impactful.
As usual, we eagerly look forward to our collective victory, and the end of the terrorist attacks; the safe return of our Chibok girls and all other abductees, the return refugees and IDPs back to their homes and the return of normalcy, peace and safety to Northeast Nigeria. A time of tranquillity that would make reconstruction of the region feasible and realizable.
We proudly salute our gallant fighting men and women of the Nigerian military, the Multinational Joint Taskforce, MNJTF; the police, all the security services, including the local volunteers and Vigilante at the frontlines. We can never thank you enough. We wish you resounding success in the days and weeks ahead.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN