Mr President, time to act is now
12 October 2017
Today is day 1,277 since schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok were abducted in their school, and day 847 under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch. It is 1,262 days of consistent #BringBackOurGirls advocacy, sadly 113 of our girls are still in captivity.
B. Our Demands
In a little over 2 months our specifics demands have been:
A. The federal government must redouble efforts to immediately rescue or secure the release of our remaining 113 #ChibokGirls. Whatever it chooses to do to bring back the rest of our girls cannot be further delayed and any relapse to inertia, complacency and indifference is unacceptable to our movement.
B. The FG should immediately send a high-powered delegation to Chibok to reassure disconsolate parents of our remaining girls that are still in captivity. The obvious and painful empathy-deficit approach in which the parents have thus far been managed is undesirable. It must end NOW.
C. The federal government and the Nigeria military should immediately provide the public with factual and accurate details on the missing Lassa women and the NNPC exploration team. The opaqueness surrounding these two tragedies have created room for unhealthy speculations and must be urgently addressed.
D. The federal government should immediately invite the affected families of the victims of the Lassa women and the soldiers- NNPC-University of Maiduguri lecturers and staff killings and abduction for a full briefing on the tragedies that befell their relatives. The FG should have already taken full ownership of the tragedies and presented families with persuasive and comforting plans for the immediate rescue of their relatives. (Some of the families have actually reached out to our movement formally and shall be receiving our support going forward.
E. The FG as we have constantly and consistently demanded must now set up the structured systems of public reporting on each specific abduction case, the general management of our IDPs as well as the entire prosecution of the counter insurgency war. Citizens have a right to know. Even more so, families of victims of abduction have an immediate right to know status of their missing relatives. The FG alone cannot successfully win the counter terrorism war. It must mobilize the citizens and this is only possible when it trusts the people with factual updates relevant enough to build public support.
F. Finally, we call for an urgent revamping of counterterrorism operational strategy by the Nigeria military. We also urge the military to overhaul its Communication approach and strategy to become more transparent and engaging with immediate communities and the citizens at large.
At our last march to the State House 10 weeks ago on Tuesday 2 August, the presidency through Babatunde Ojudu, the special adviser to the president on political affairs took our message, conceded on some issues the state had previously denied, and expressed the federal government’s commitments. Our movement received the message in good faith, but insisted that we shall only be persuaded of the federal government’s sincerity by their actions. [See report of what transpired here: http://www.bringbackourgirls.ng/?p=2846]. Most regrettably, we have no evidence of anything being done on any of the issues and are still where we were on that day 2 months ago.
C. Matter Arising from President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day Address
President Muhammadu Buhari in his Independence Day speech on 1st October again restated his government’s commitment to rescue our missing 113 #ChibokGirls and all others in captivity. Our movement opines that beyond words, more verifiable action is need to be seen.
Second, our movement notes that the president did not mention the University of Maiduguri lecturers and their others including members of our armed forces who were kidnapped whilst on national duty, an oil exploration mission for the federal government in the Lake Chad Basin area. Also on 20 June, exactly 115 days ago today 14 women and children and 2 men (16 in all) from Lassa (which included police service women) also kidnapped on Borno-Adamawa road whilst on a mission to bury a deceased police service personnel. The expression ‘Chibok girls and all others’ when first used by Mr President referred to our #ChibokGirls and the thousands of others in captivity whose identities are not clear. The victims of these 2 kidnappings cannot therefore be lumped into the ‘others in captivity’ label as they and everything about them is known and on the record.
Not specifically mentioning them tends to deny their kidnap and continued captivity, which sadly is what happened with our #ChibokGirls who when abducted in their school were not promptly rescued, today makes it 1277 days 113 of them have been in captivity. We will not accept a repeat of what happened to our #ChibokGirls.
Among this batch of kidnapped women was a young lady, Jummai Ibrahim a corps member undergoing her National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) serving with Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Borno, another, Sarah John a 300-level undergraduate of the University of Maiduguri, as we have been informed by their families.
In light of the president’s Independence Day address, our movement temporarily suspends our earlier announced marches to the State House every 3 working days beginning today for another 30 days to monitor the federal government’s actions following the said address. If we do not have evidence of the federal government’s responsiveness in meeting our named demands within this time we shall commence our marches on Tuesday 14 November, 1 month and 2 days from today.
D. Other Matters Arising
Last year before our girls began coming back news broke of a girl who self identified as a #ChibokGirl in Cameroon, it turned out that she wasn’t among our then missing 219#ChibokGirls. Her name and that of her associate they were found together were never released, nor has anything been said of them since then. We are interested and want full disclosure of their status, whereabouts, and welfare.
In the same manner, Sarah Luka was found shortly after Amina Ali (the first #ChibokGirl to return), she was first reported to be among our 219 missing girls but she was not. We are interested and want to know where she is, the state of her rehabilitation, reunification with family, reintegration and if she is back in school. All lives matter equally.
Two days ago our courageous troops successfully repelled an attack of the insurgents to take over Gwoza. We commend our men and women in uniform as well as the Civilian JTF for their gallantry and service. Your labour shall never be in vain. You are always in our thoughts and prayers.
‘NO MORE EXCUSES!!’
‘NO DECIDE NOW!!’
‘ACT NOW, WE WANT MORE RESULTS!!’
‘THREE YEARS TOO LONG!’
‘NO MORE EXCUSES!!’
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls