Mr President: Act Now! We Want Result
30 August 2016
Today marks our third attempt at engaging with our democratically elected President, in the last eight (8) days. It is also sixteen days since the “Plea-For-Rescue” video was released by the terrorists, who still hold 218 of OUR ChibokGirls hostage, 869 days after the abduction on April 14, 2014.
We are out again because no evidence of persuasive, deliberate and result- targeted action has been conveyed by our President and the Federal Government.
We must as always however first acknowledge the courage and gallantry of our soldiers in the frontlines, the Multinational Joint Task Force, and the Civilian JTF, and urge them to remain resilient in the face of attacks as these. Their labour and sacrifice shall never be in vain. We acknowledge the return of thousands of our fellow citizens who were never confirmed by the Federal Government to be missing but have since been rescued by our military.
We acknowledge that since our march of the 25th August 2016, a statement was made by Mr. President in far-away Kenya, on the side-lines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI). In the said statement as reported by the media, Mr. President suggested a willingness to swap our #ChibokGirls for Boko Haram fighters preferring that the terrorists engaged an international Non-Governmental Organization in the intermediation process if they so wish. His words as reported were, “[I]f they [the terrorists] do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognized Non-Governmental Organization, convince them that they are holding the girls and that they want Nigeria to release a number of Boko Haram leaders in detention, which they are supposed to know.”
We fail to understand why our Federal Government is giving so much powers to determine process and first mover actions to the terrorists. We have always maintained that the President has the powers to assemble ALL RELEVANT INTELLIGENCE ASSETS required for determining the best action in terms of LOWEST RISK OPTION. Many countries with superior capabilities have indicated willingness to help our Government gather security and intelligence assets on this and other related North East challenges. We were therefore extremely shocked to read Mr. President state, that “[S]ome of the information about the division in Boko Haram is already in the press and I have read it in the papers about the conflict in their leadership”. Are we right to conclude from that statement that our President merely relies on newspaper reports like the rest of the Nigerian public for information on such an important and monumental tragedy? This is a grave basis for concern to our movement.
So, while we welcome the statement, we counter that it sounds too tentative and lacking of the conviction, decisiveness, strong ownership, and urgent actions required to #BringBackOurGirls. This tragedy must no longer be allowed to linger any further! It is time to act with the fiercest urgency and the authority that must lead this action is our President, Commander – in-Chief – of-the-Armed-Forces.
We therefore restate our SPECIFIC DEMANDS to Mr President as follows:
• That Mr. President must swiftly make a firm decision for their immediate rescue based on the three available options. 1. Military operation 2. Negotiation with the terrorists. 3. Combination of 1 and 2. Mr President, Act Now!
• That Mr. President must assess the wealth of information and state resources available to pursue a lowest risk option of these three.
• That Mr. President addresses Nigerians on his rescue plan and timelines of our #ChibokGirls.
• That Mr. President immediately constitutes a #ChibokGirls Rescue Operation Monitoring Team made up of representatives of Federal Government, parents of #ChibokGirls, KADA (the Chibok community), and #BringBackOurGirls. This multi-stakeholders platform should act as a transparent mechanism for feedback on evidence of Mr. President’s sustained action towards bringing back OUR #ChibokGirls.
• That Mr. President should immediately preside 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 Mr. President directs 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 reject any suspension or termination of any of the trials without reaching a legal conclusion.
• That the Chief Justice of Nigeria prioritizes the trials of all counter-insurgency related corruption cases. Cases should be placed on fast-track with no long adjournments.
Mr. President, WE WANT ACTION AND RESULTS NOW!!!
We will monitor the response of Mr. President and continue to respond accordingly.
Our hearts and prayers are with our fellow citizens in the internally displaced persons’ camps in Nigeria and across the world. Their strong will and resolve, despite some of the most degrading conditions, continue to inspire hope. This is why it is criminal and utterly unacceptable that IDPs had to carry out a blockade of the highways in Borno State to press home their demand for better treatment. We cannot be a people that aggravates the suffering of its most vulnerable population. We must not allow this degenerate to situations where suffering citizens resort to self-justice.
Today, we join the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day for the Disappeared/Missing Persons. We are delighted that the initiative of the Missing Persons Register which we the #BringBackOurGirls movement pioneered working with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) ready and is being launched today by the Federal Government under the auspices of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The identities of all those that have been rescued are very important, and this should be the first action of this register.
In the time since we were last here, two events have provided a unique opportunity to coalesce international support for rebuilding the North East of Nigeria. The partnership between Bono and Aliko Dangote, through the Make-Nigeria-Stronger campaign by One.org, has reportedly raised a hundred (100) million dollars to support the IDPs. And in his “End of Mission Statement” following a visit between the 23rd and 26th of August, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Mr. Chaloka Beyani stated that “the international community has a vital role to play in addressing and resolving the humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria”.
Mr. President, our friends are assembling, and we must seize this momentum to launch a deliberate, state-driven plan for mobilizing multi-stakeholder action towards successful reconstruction, rehabilitation, resettlement, and reintegration of our people. Thankfully, our movement’s “Option’s Note for Rebuilding the North East”, submitted to you in June, 2016, provides an excellent blueprint of what is required to deploy a Multi-Donor Trust Fund as a most viable option for pursuing the scale of work. Mr. President, the time to heed our call for a designated “Special Envoy” to lead this work is NOW!
We renew our demand for decisive action to #BringBackOurGirls and a deliberate and urgent response to the catastrophic humanitarian crisis. This must be accompanied by swift investigation and prosecution of root causes, governance failures, and cases of diversion of food and other relief materials.
In conclusion, as Nigerians, and concerned citizens around the world, we join the parents in saying #NoMoreDelays.
Mr. President, NO MORE EXCUSES.
Mr. President, NO MORE PREVARICATIONS.
Mr. President, NO MORE ASSURANCES WITHOUT FOCUSED ACTION.
Mr. President, WE WANT ACTION AND RESULTS!
Mr. President, DECIDE NOW!
Mr. President, ACT NOW!
Mr. President, IT IS TIME TO BRING BACK OUR CHIBOK GIRLS AND ALL OTHER CITIZENS WHOSE IDENTITY WE DO NOT KNOW BUT ARE WITH THE TERRORISTS!
Above all, Mr. President, WE WANT ACTION AND RESULTS NOW!!!
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls