BBOG Continues March For Chibok Girls’ Release In Abuja, Lagos

BBOG Continues March For Chibok Girls' Release In Abuja, LagosThe Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group on Thursday continued its week-long activities in Abuja and Lagos, to mark the third anniversary of the Chibok girls’ abduction.

The march was dominated with school children who came out to show solidarity with the school girls who were abducted in April 2014 from a secondary school in Chibok community of Borno State, north-east Nigeria.

Just as in the previous days, the leaders of the BBOG movement trooped out to express their displeasure over what they called the “delay in the rescue of the girls”.

They also raised concerns about the condition of the 24 girls that have regained their freedom from the Boko Haram terrorists, and sought to know how they are being treated.

Speaking to Channels Television in Lagos, one of the BBOG conveners, Aisha Oyebode, asked government to ensure the security of Nigerians and school children in particular.

“We want safety in our schools, but we want the government to be accountable for every Nigerian child; not just in the northern part of the country but across the whole country,” she said.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement, said the menace of the terrorist group was a great challenge to the resolve of his administration to implement the Change Agenda.

He, however, stated government’s resolve to secure the release of the Chibok girls and others who were forcefully abducted from their homes and communities, as well as retake the territories occupied by the terrorists.

President Buhari also expressed appreciation to “the parents and families that have endured three years of agony and (still) waiting for the return of their children”.

Experts Seek Inquiry On Missing Persons In Northern Nigeria

Experts Seek Inquiry On Missing Persons In Northern NigeriaA panel of international experts and rights groups has advocated the commissioning of a broad Federal Government inquiry into the swath of unidentified missing persons across Nigeria’s northern region since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2011.

The appeal was made on Monday as members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group converged on Abuja, to mark the third year of the abduction of the Chibok girls.

At an event organised by the BBOG group, international forensic criminologists and human rights experts highlighted ways to mitigate rising cases of missing persons in Nigeria.

The panel observed that the absence of a legitimate census has made it nearly impossible to assess and address the issues of population management.

While some experts noted that political interference impedes justice in numerous ways, others emphasised the need for the civil society to step up its game.

BBOG Accuses FG Of Complacency Over Chibok Girls Rescue

Ezekweisli Seeks Public Conversation On Nigeria's EconomyThe Bring Back Our Girls campaign group has accused the Federal Government of complacency and maintaining what they termed a definite silence about the search of the remaining 195 missing Chibok school girls.

On the third day of a week-long activities to commemorate the third year since the abduction of the school girls, co-convener of the group, Oby Ezekwesili, said President Muhammadu Buhari must fulfill his promise and responsibility by ensuring the speedy return of the girls.

“There shouldn’t be any sense of complacency, on the part of any leader of a country, when you’ve got 195 of your children with terrorists. This government seems to want this whole agitation of Chibok girls to end so that everybody will just move away, No.

“There was a promise made that except the government brings back Chibok girls, it cannot say that it has defeated Boko Haram – It was the statement of our president in his inauguration address, it was the statement he revealed to us during our July visit in 2015 to him. He cannot run away from it, he cannot back away from it,” she stressed.

The parents on the other hand, who lamented over the situation, however expressed hope that their children would return.

Proposed Visit To Nigeria’s Northeast, Government Responds To BBOG

Nigerian government on proposed visit to northeast with BBOGThe Nigerian government is insisting that an earlier date it had agreed with the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group for a guided tour of Nigeria’s northeast, where the notorious Sambisa Forest is located, will not be shifted. 

The group had in a letter to the Federal Government on Friday requested that the the proposed date of the tour, January 16, be changed to accommodate a Pre-Tour Meeting between it and some top officials of the Federal Government.

But the spokesman for the Nigerian government, Mr Lai Mohammed, in response to the group’s demand said the government had noted the conditions given by the BBOG “for embarking on the trip, which include the said Pre-Tour Meeting and the retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, which the #BBOG finds to be “slanderous”.

“We regret, however, to inform you that we are unable to postpone the trip as scheduled because the need to proceed with the trip on Monday is predicated on the narrow window available to have a good weather on that day.

“Additionally, the payment for the satellite downlink streaming of the mission has been made for that Monday, and shifting the date will require another round of booking to secure such a slot,” the letter to the group by the Federal Government read.

Mr Mohammed further stated that apart from the #BBOG members, local and international journalists have been invited for the trip, while much preparations have been made by the Nigerian military.

‘Drop Conditions And Join Trip’

On the remark the group claimed the Chief of Army Staff made, the government’s spokesman  said: “With due respect, we will also like to say that the remarks purportedly made by the Chief of Army Staff and the request for a meeting with certain top officials of the government are, at best, tangential to the invitation we extended to the #BBOG to join the search mission, in recognition of the group’s commitment to the safe release of the Chibok girls who remain in captivity as well as its continued interest in the welfare of the girls who have been released”.

The government further expressed hopes that the #BBOG would drop its conditions and join the trip, which showed the commitment of the Federal Government to securing freedom for the Chibok girls and its transparency in handling the issue of the girls.

The invitation for the proposed tour is coming at a time that the group held a week-long protest, demanding for more efforts from the government and the military to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls.

Over 200 girls were taken from their school’s dormitory on April 14, 2014, in Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

Since their abduction by Boko Haram terrorists, less than 60 of the girls have been rescued and the recent announcement of the clearing of the terrorists’ last bastion in Sambisa Forest, where most of the girls are believed to have been held, has raised concerns about the whereabouts of the remaining girls.

Boko Haram had weeks after their abduction said the ‘girls have been married off’, but in October last year, 21 of the girls, some of them with babies, were released by the terrorists after negotiations with the Federal Government.

BBOG Clears Air On Motive Behind Week-long Protest

 BBOG Clears Air On Motive Behind Week-long ProtestThe Lagos state Co-ordinator of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign group, Habiba Balogun, has re-iterated the group’s aim, saying that they have one main purpose, which is to see the girls returned alive and well.

According to her, “that is at the top of the pyramid.

Meanwhile she says, “At the bottom of the pyramid however, we have discovered that there are many elements that had contributed to the girls being abducted and not being rescued even after 1000 days.

Balogun stated this while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, where she cleared the air on various reactions by many who feel the group had veered off its course.

On Thursday, it became four days since the group began the week-long protest, in which attention is being drawn to several issues such as poor governance, corruption, welfare of soldiers, among others.

The Lagos representative then stressed that poor governance is indeed one of the key issues that had led to the abduction and slow recovery of the missing girls.

“We have systems in this our country, that if somebody goes missing, and you report to the police, you can wait – a mechanism would be put in place and they can seek out persons responsible, prosecute and convict them- but that process is not in place,” she said.

Also speaking further on the issue of corruption, she alleged that some persons go as far as stealing or diverting donations sent to IDP camps.

“We know the people who are responsible for those acts of theft – what has happened to them, who has been sacked? Who is being prosecuted and convicted, she questioned.

“We know the reason the armed forces took so long before they started recording successes over the insurgents”.

Balogun believes that all the money sent to the troops for welfare as well as procurement of arms were diverted by certain corrupt individuals.

She also revealed that even on Wednesday, “four girls were kidnapped in Madagali, Adamwa state.

“What plans are being put in place to ensure that parents of these girls too, are not deprived of their children for another 1000 days, she questioned again.

She then stressed that although the group continues to push for the safety and release of the missing girls, as well as proper rehabilitation of those found, they still have to address other salient issues.

BBOG In Third Day Campaign Pushes For Soldiers’ Welfare

Oby-Ezekwesili3Members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign group have again reconvened at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, this time, in addition to seeking the release of the abducted Chibok girls, they are pushing for soldiers’ welfare.

The co-convener of the group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, told Channels Television that the focus of the third day gathering was to press for a better welfare for soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army.

Dr. Ezekwesili explained that the group was appalled with the way soldiers at the war front were treated by the authorities.

She said Tuesday’s protest, apart from seeking the release of the remaining Chibok girls, would also focus on what she called the military project and welfare of the officers.

Recently, a video emerged where soldiers were seen protesting non-availability of water and ammunition needed to prosecute the war against Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast.

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok Girl
Depressed looking Rakiya Abubkar was recovered by troops of the Nigerian Army on January 5.

Several soldiers have been killed in counter-insurgency war in the northeast while some have been maimed.

Boko Haram terrorists had in 2014 April abducted over 200 girls from their school’s dormitory in Chibok.

Since their abduction, less than 70 of the girls have been rescued by the military.

The BBOG group has held series of protests to make the government heighten efforts to rescue the girls.

Last week, one of the girls was recovered with her six-month baby.

The spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman, confirmed the girl’s recovery on January 5.

He stated that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, during investigation of arrested suspected Boko Haram terrorists, discovered one of the abducted Chibok School girls, Rakiya Abubkar, with her six months old baby.

BBOG Group Continues Week-Long Protest

BBOG, Military, Chibok GirlsThe Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign group, have reconvened at the Unity Park Abuja, in an effort to further urge the government to step up its search for the remaining abducted Chibok school girls.

The Co-convener of the group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, says members should continue their week long protest not minding the threats of the police.

On January 8, 2017, it became 1,000 days since 276 girls were abducted by Boko Haram militants from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state.

Some of them have since been released while others managed to escape, but at least 195 girls are still in captivity.

Their abduction drew international attention to the activities of the armed group in Nigeria’s north-east region, with several world leaders including former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, calling for the girls’ release.

Meanwhile, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, has restated the commitment of the federal government in securing the release of the remaining youngsters.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Mr Femi Adesina, Buhari said:

“We are grateful to God that on this landmark day, we are not completely in the depths of despair, but buoyed with hope that our daughters will yet rejoin their families and loved ones.

“Three of them have been recovered by our diligent military, while the freedom of 21 others was secured through engagement with their captors. We are hopeful that many more will still return as soon as practicable”.

He then reiterated his pledge, pronounced many times in the past, that government would not spare any effort to reunite the girls with their families.

BBOG Rallies Support For Nigerian Military Personnel

ezekwesiliThe Bring Back Our Girls campaigners are asking the government and Nigerians to improve the welfare of the Nigerian military.

The group made the demand on Sunday when they gathered in Abuja at a special sit out to honour departed Lieutenant Colonel Abul Ali and other fallen heroes.

It maintained that only a well-motivated force could subdue the Boko Haram terrorists that have pushed for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the north-eastern region for over six years.

While praising the courage of the late army Colonel, they also called on Nigerians to show love to the families of military personnel, as a mark of appreciation for their supreme sacrifices.

A leader of the group, Oby Ezekwesili, further charged the military authorities to step up intelligence gathering in the fight against insurgency as well as be accountable to the Nigerian people.

“Just looking at the duty allowances and bonus that they get, the way that they’re honoured and the prestige with which they are treated as those who are executing that war at the battle front, more support would make a big difference.

“In many ways, the psyche of our military needs to be so overhauled towards a sense that the society and the government are with them and that they are not left to their own fate. I think that it is important that we, not just we as BBOG, but all of us in the country, have to put a voice out there. We must demand accountability from our military.

“The military establishment must be subject to the demand of accountability and we never cease doing that. That is one thing.

“The other thing is the soldiers at the frontline of battle deserves our support. They deserve our encouragement and gratitude. All other countries around the world have these seasons when they specially show appreciation to their soldiers. We cannot make it a one off event. It has to be something that is constant and we hope that spirit will see an expression in the motivation of our soldiers to even do more,” she told the gathering.

Another member of the group, Aisha Yesufu, also stressed the need for Nigerians to show soldiers in the frontline that they are with them and would continue to protect them and look after their families.

“We are calling on, not only the Nigerian government, but individuals for us to adopt families of soldiers that are at the front.

“That is the thing that we are talking about today,” she added.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali was killed in gun battle with members of the Boko Haram sect few days ago alongside some other soldiers.

BBOG Group Says It Will Ensure Chibok Girls Rehabilitation

Aisha Yessuff on rescued chibok girlsThe Bring Back Our Girls campaign group says it will continue to keep the government on its toes to ensure that the full rehabilitation and re-integration of the 21 released Chibok girls.

The girls who were students of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok were abducted on April 14, 2014 by members of the Boko Haram terrorists group.

They regained freedom on Thursday, after the government secured their release through negotiation.

Speaking with Channels Television at the usual sit out of the group on Sunday, a co-convener of the group, Aisha Yessuff, said the group would monitor to ensure that the promises made to the girls such as re-integrating them into schools were fulfilled.

The group also called on international organisations who had pledged their support in the past to ensure that they help the Federal Government in the rehabilitation of the girls.

“What we are assuring Nigerians is that we will not allow the government to shift from its responsibility.

“It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that they get the right education that they can.

“BBOG can help in whatever way it can to ensure that they get that right education,” she promised.

released-chibok-girls
Treas flow as the released girls reunite with their parents

Mrs Yessuff, however, pointed out that now that some girls had regained freedom, it was time for the government to come in and help rehabilitate the girls.

The group, however, said it would continue in its advocacy to ensure the release of not just the remaining school girls still in captivity, but that of every Nigerian that is still in captivity.

The government had promised that it would secure the release of the other girls still in captivity.

It had also promised to rehabilitate the released girls.

While efforts continue to ensure that other girls are released, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai  Mohammed has warned Nigerians to avoid reckless analysis that could jeopardise the chances of securing the girls’ release.

He made the demand on Sunday during a thanksgiving service organised for the released girls where they were also reunited with their parents.

Nigerian Government Launches Fresh Bid To Free Chibok Girls

Boko Haram video on chibok girlsA fresh bid has been launched by the Nigerian government to rescue the missing Chibok schoolgirls two years after they were taken from their school’s dormitory.

The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, gave a hint about the fresh bid to rescue the Chibok girls abducted by members of the Boko Haram terrorists group on April 14, 2014.

Infighting Among Boko Haram

Mr Mohammed said that previous efforts to rescue the girls were frustrated by infighting among Boko Haram terrorists and middle men, who according to the minister exploited the process for pecuniary gains.

Over 200 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, in northeast Nigeria, a strong hold of the terrorist group in the heat of the over six-year insurgency.

Since the abduction of the girls, pressure has been mounted on the Federal Government to rescue them, including demands for a swap with members of Boko Haram in detention.

Their abduction at that time triggered protests in different countries, making popular a slogan #BringBackOurGirls.

Prisoners Swap Request

Recently, the terrorist group released a video of the girls still in their custody and requested for prisoners swap.

After that video was released, some parents of the girls asked the government to swap the girls with the members of the sect in detention as requested.

Weeks after they made the request, President Muhammadu Buhari said the government was willing to swap the girls.

But he said the swap would be on a condition that the terrorist group would list those they wanted released and then come out to discuss with the Federal Government.

He stressed that the Federal Government would want the girls out safe without any harm done to them.

For over six years, Boko Haram has pushed for the establishment of Islamic State in the northeast and an end to Western education.

Recent military onslaught against the group has sacked them from most communities they had taken hold of within Nigeria’s territory and border towns between Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.

Rescued Girl

Members of the Bring Back Our Girls group, have continued to push for the rescue of the Chibok girls and increase military counter-terrorism operations in the region to rescue the girls that have been missing since two years.

Amina_State_House
Amina Ali rescued from Boko Haram with a child recently said she was missing her husband

One of the girls, Amina Ali, who was rescued some months back, had been married off to one of the terrorists, that had settled at a haven – Sambisa Forest. She had a baby for him.

Her husband had told the military that they had been forced out of the forest by hunger.

While the government is launching a new bid for the rescue of the military is heightening operations to clear the remnants of terrorists in the northeast and ensure safety of residents that have started to return to their communities from their Internally Displaced Persons camps.

SERAP Asks UN To Stop FG From Harassing #BBOG 

SERAP, Life Pension, ImmunityThe Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, is asking the United Nations to compel the federal government to stop what the group describes as the intimidation of the Bring Back Our Girls group.

A statement issued by the senior staff counsel of SERAP, Mr Timothy Adewale, SERAP said that this violates the rights of members to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Part of the statement reads: “No Nigerian law makes it a crime to demonstrate in any part of the country. Harassing the BBOG group and stopping its members from proceeding peacefully to the seat of government is overkill.

“It is the primary duty of the President Muhammadu Buhari government to protect all demonstrators, including the BBOG group and enable lawful demonstrations to proceed peacefully. Carrying out this obligation is about deeds, not words.

“SERAP considers the restrictions placed on the right of the BBOG group to peaceful assembly by law enforcement agencies as unnecessary, disproportionate, unjustified in law, and in bad faith.

“The ability of the BBOG group to organise, mobilise and speak out on matters of the missing Chibok girls cannot be prohibited under any grounds whatsoever.”

SERAP added that it considers restrictions placed on the Bring Back Our Girls group to peaceful assemble by law enforcement agencies as unjustified in law, and in bad faith.

Adaka Boro Avengers Oppose Arms Mop Up To End Niger Delta Crisis

Adaka Boro Avengers, Niger Delta, MilitantsMembers of the Adaka Boro Avengers say arms mop up exercise in the Niger Delta without dialogue with the militants will not bring lasting peace in the region.

The spokesman for the group, Edmos Ayayeibo, said in a statement that the militant groups in Nigeria’s south-south region have laid down their arms.

He added that the militants are also prepared to dialogue with the Federal Government, to end the crisis in the region.

Ayayeibo described as insincere, the plans by the military to move into camps to dislodge the militants after they had laid down their arms.

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has been nominated by the militants as one of those to represent them on the negotiating table with the government.

President Muhammadu Buhari had disclosed that the Federal Government is also open to dialogue to resolve all contending issues in the Niger Delta region.

He, however, said the government does not believe the militants have announced a ceasefire, saying the government was yet to identify their leaders.

“We do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more.

“Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues,” he asked in Kenya.