Where are our 113 #ChibokGirls?
1 August 2017
Today is Day 1205 since the abduction of our 276 #ChibokGirls in their school, Government School, Chibok; a total of 106 are back but 113 remain missing to this day. It is also Day 790 that our 113 #ChibokGirls are in captive under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.
We note specifically that the Federal Government secured the release of 82 of our #ChibokGirls from their abductors only last May. We commend the federal government for that delightful result. We also acknowledge the 2 reunions that the rescued and released girls who are all in the custody of the Federal Government have so far had with their parents. We have also followed sketchy media reports of the government’s plans for their rehabilitation and continuation with their education.
Today is Day 1990 of daily advocacy. We are delighted that our movement has kept our promise to our girls, their parents, community and humanity to not stop advocating until all 219 of them are brought back.
That is why our movement is extremely anxious about the fate of the remaining 113 of our girls that are still with the terrorists. It does appear to us that the presidency, the FG, and the military have ‘moved on’ . Our fears are premised on the fact that nothing tangible was ever communicated to their disconsolate parents even at a time that the other parents rightly regale in the return of their 106 schoolmates. Is the disquieting silence of the FG on the still captive 113 #ChibokGirls suggestive of the allegations in the media that it assumes its task to be completed because it brought back 106 out of 219 #ChibokGirls?
Is the lack of progress report by the Federal Government to the parents of the 113 ChibokGirls and the wider public on what it is doing to bring back our girls an indication that the girls have been abandoned? Mr President’s repeated commitment was to ALL the parents not to 106 of them. That pledge must be fulfilled in entirety to all the affected families.
Since our week long public engagement that ended on April 14, 2017 when we commemorated three years of abduction of our #ChibokGirls we have continued our advocacy through our Daily Sit Outs at the Unity Fountain, Abuja. We have during the period also issued media releases on matters related to our #ChibokGirls, the pillaging of domestic and foreign resources committed for our internally displaced people and issues bordering on their general well being, the re-escalating crises in the North East Nigeria , the kidnap of the Lagos schoolboys, the abduction of women of the Nigeria Police and other civilian women who were on an official burial delegation in Borno State.
We acknowledge that following our last statement only 5 days ago, the Lagos schoolboys have thankfully returned through the untiring effort of the Ondo State Government.
Regrettably, yet another tragic abduction happened in the last one week when terrorists killed and took captive some members of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) exploration team including our soldiers providing them protection along with some lecturers and staff of the University of Maiduguri.
We are shocked at the lackadaisical and generally poor handling of the latest tragedies involving the police women and the lecturers. Our shock is borne out of a strong disappointment that our federal government appears not to have risen above the terrible treatment that was meted to our Chibok Girls and their parents in 2014.
We are utterly dumbfounded at the outright denials of the police women tragedy and the error in communication of the abduction and false notice of rescue of the abducted lecturers on the NNPC team.
The escalating terror attacks in the northeast has created a heightened sense of insecurity across the country. Media reports show that that there may have been more than 80 reported attacks in the last 2 weeks. It forces us to ask if the military is still at all ‘on top of the situation’ and executing the winning strategy that reduced the strength of the terrorists last year as it had them claimed?
Our demands are for the president and federal government to:
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 Nigeria Police 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 police 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.
Finally, our citizens’ movement has been singularly minded in our advocacy because it is made up of people who have sacrificially committed time, talent, and other resources to the cause of our fellow citizens. Over the last 1990 days we have operated with the two key organs of our movement — the Strategic Team headed by a Chair, and Daily Sit-Out headed by a Coordinator. We have a practice of successions of chairs and coordinators.
We are therefore delighted to present the new Chairperson of our ST — Florence Ozor who is taking over from our indefatigable Aisha Yesufu today. Aisha Yesufu was a phenomenal leader and continues to be on the ST as one of the key leaders of our movement. We also have Bukky Shonibare as Deputy Chairperson of the ST. Abubakar Yusuf remains our sit-out coordinator, and Sesugh Akume continues as the movement’s spokesperson/head of our strategic communication team.
We thank the Nigeria media for keeping faith with the cause of our Chibok girls. You have refused to move on to other issues and so have never allowed our #ChibokGirls to be forgotten. Accept our gratitude.
We also salute the commitment of our men and women in uniform including the Civilian JTF. Your sacrifice shall never be in vain.
The Nigeria Police which in times past had been antagonistic and adversarial have recently been professional in their conduct. We commend them.
As a movement we remain unwavering in our commitment to stand on and keep advocating until all our 113 girls are all retrieved from their captors.
Signed: For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls