BringBackOurGirls Statement for Day 800 of our Chibok Girls abduction.
22 June, 2016
Today is 800 days since 276 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok were abducted from their school by terrorists on 14 April 2014. Fifty seven (57) of the schoolgirls escaped during the period. On May 18th one of our 219 schools girls in captivity – Amina Ali- was rescued 765 days after abduction through the joint effort of the Nigerian Military and the Civilian Joint Task Force, therefore leaving 218 still in terrorist stronghold. Today also marks 785 days since our movement, #BringBackOurGirls has been advocating for the safe rescue of our Chibok Girls, all other abducted citizens and an end to the insurgency.
We have a few matters of interest to highlight on this Day 800 of our #ChibokGirls captivity.
THE STATUS OF RESCUED #CHIBOKGIRL–AMINA ALI
On May 18, 2016, our Movement was elated at the rescue of Amina Ali as it rekindled the hope of all who have advocated for our schoolgirls that their rescue is possible. We recall that a number of promises were made at the reception held for Amima Ali and her family, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The comforting word of the President was “Although we cannot do anything to reverse the horrors of her past, the federal government can and will do everything possible to ensure that the rest of her life takes a completely different course” . That promise set the standard of expectation for the rehabilitation, resettlement and reintegration of not only Amina Ali but her peers and other abducted citizens once they are rescued from terrorists.
It is now more than one month since Ms. Ali was rescued and her avowed restoration process by the Federal Government as pledged by the President began. Having given reasonable length of time, our Movement has a number of concerns regarding Amina Ali as well as the rest of our ChibokGirls still in terrorist enclave.
1. Can the Federal Government respond to the dissatisfaction expressed by the Chibok Community on the lack of access of their leaders to their daughter, Amina Ali since she was rescued? The Federal Government has a duty to do so! We consider the collaboration and partnership of the Community to which she belongs as extremely important for her full reintegration and therefore advise the Federal Government to reach out to and involve the Chibok Community in the welfare of the rescued school girl.
2. Can the Federal Government transparently share with the public the program of recovery being implemented for Amina Ali? The Federal Government has a duty to do so. The promise of the President that she will receive the best medical, psychosocial and all such care necessary for her wholesome restoration was very reassuring. We however assert that one month after the promises were made, it is proper that the Federal Government should share what specific program is on-going for Ms. Ali’s, her child and her mother’s wellbeing. Extremely important to us are what plans have been made for her eventual return to complete her education.
3. Can the Federal Government confirm to the public that a thorough intelligence debriefing was conducted with both Ms. Ali and the man, Mohammed Hayyatu who was in her company during her rescue? The Federal Government has a duty to do so! Were any useful information gathered that can fill the gap in credible evidence that Mr. President had adduced during our meeting on January 14, 2016 as the reason for non-rescue of our Chibok Girls? The public has a right to know without any compromise to intelligence details. The Federal Government has a duty to tell us.
4. What is the status of Mohammed Hayyatu? Where is he at this time and what plans does the Federal Government have on this? Our Movement repeats our demand earlier in May, that he must be charged and prosecuted for the criminal act of abduction and rape that resulted in Amina’s pregnancy and child bearing. The secrecy attendant to the measures being taken to ensure appropriate punishment for his criminality does not bode well for building public trust in the Federal Government. We recall that this is one of the issues that greatly distressed the Chibok Community Association and on which they demanded swift action from the Government. We add our voice in demanding full disclosure from the FG on what it is currently doing to ensure that the arrested terrorist who claimed fatherhood for Amina Ali’s child is appropriately tried and convicted.
STATUS OF RESCUE OPERATION FOR 218 CHIBOK GIRLS.
1. Following Amina Ali’s rescue 32 days ago, and the rejoicing that followed, we had warned the Federal Government to avoid a relapse into bureaucratic inertia in the vigorous effort needed to rescue the remaining 218 school girls. We are extremely concerned that our warning may not have been heeded. Although we gave reasonable time since May 19th for the FG to present Nigerians with an update on its plans to upgrade the rescue operation for the remaining 218 remaining girls in the light of any credible intelligence information provided by #AminaAli; we are extremely disappointed with the evident lull in rescue actions and lack of any progress report.
2. Inevitably, the hope of the parents, relatives and community of the rest of our abducted Chibok girls became revitalized by the assurances made that military action in Sambisa Forest would intensify to retrieve their daughters. We, like their parents are however now very concerned that since those reassurances were given, neither the President, the FG nor the military have offered any progress report. We therefore ask, “Is there still an active operation mounted to rescue our 218 Chibok Girls?”. If there is, what are the results and expectations so far from the effort?
3. We consider it paramount on this DAY800 of their captivity, that our President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces who had promised during the reception held for Amina Ali that her recovery invigorate the rescue mission for her schoolmates should again speak to inform and reassure their parents and other Nigerians. At the minimum, Mr President should direct the military to provide a progress report to the nation on their effort.
4. We shall not cease to remind the Federal Government of its constitutional duty to rescue our ChibokGirls and all similarly abducted citizens of Nigeria. We hope that within the next one month, Mr. President and his administration will have results of a reinvigorated rescue mission in the rescue of all of them. Our Movement will continue to demand a committed, strong, consistent, sustained and effective operation. We may be compelled to demand for a meeting in the coming weeks to press our demand further.
NEED TO REOPEN CLOSED SCHOOLS IN CHIBOK AND COMPLETE THE GOVERNMENT SECONDARY SCHOOL CHIBOK.
We remind the Federal and Borno State Governments that the Chibok Community has made numerous demands for closed schools in their community to be reopened after more than two years of shutdown. They have many times demanded for speedy reconstruction of the Government Secondary School from where our ChibokGirls were abducted. They have many times asked for progress report on the Safe Schools Initiative that was launched to especially benefit their schools and children and through which a much dramatized reconstruction ground breaking ceremony was done by the previous administration. We are similarly puzzled as to what has stalled the rebuilding and reopening of the school. We therefore advise the Federal and Borno State Governments to be accountable and responsive by engaging with Chibok community to resolve these matters peaceably.
REPORTS OF INVESTIGATIONS INTO ABDUCTION
We also wish to remind Mr. President of two other matters we have been waiting:
1. The release of the Major General Mohammed Sabo Fact-Finding Committee Report of 2014 into the abduction of Chibok School Girls submitted to the former administration.
2. Details of the new investigation into the abduction of OUR #ChibokGirls that National Security Adviser announced to the public in January, 2016 at the approval and instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
MORE VISIBLE AND RESULT BASED HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM FOR IDPs
We are extremely appalled at the news coming out of the Internally Displaced People’s camps in the North East. Is the Federal Government aware of the many evidence -backed reports of pillaging and diversion of relief materials and the deaths of IDPs from hunger despite the huge sums of money allegedly budgeted for their wellbeing? What actions is the Federal government and state government taking to end the despicable and criminal neglect of these our long suffering citizens by criminally minded officials responsible for their wellbeing? The actions and speed of response by our Governments still do not match the scale of the humanitarian tragedy in the North East. We fear that Nigeria risks losing two generations of its young to a life of instability and intractable poverty if the FG does not immediately lead an urgent strategy for tackling the IDPs crisis.
On the broader issue of rebuilding the North East region of the country, our Movement worked on an options note which we have sent to both the National Assembly and the President. We hope that the FG and the lawmakers would find our suggestions for deciding the fastest way to rehabilitate people and communities useful.
In concluding, we once again salute and express gratitude to our gallant troops from all the armed forces and security establishment who continue in patriotic service to bring insurgency to an end and to secure the territorial integrity of the Nigerian country and people. We applaud the roles of the Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF) and the Civilian Joint Task Force supporting the counter-insurgency war by our military. We wish you more successes.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls