Bring Back Our Girls: Campaigners Urge FG To Improve Military Welfare

Chibok-girls-BringBackOurGirlsThe ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners have again called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts at rescuing the over 200 girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect in Borno State.

Speaking at their daily sit out at the Unity Fountain Abuja, the campaigners asked the Federal Government to improve the welfare of the military to enable them confront Boko Haram effectively.

On the outcome of the meeting with President Jonathan, the Chairman of the Chibok community in Abuja, Mr Hosea Esanbido, said that the President assured them that the girls would soon be rescued.

He also said that President Jonathan assured the parents of the abducted girls that the education and welfare of the girls would be taken care of.

Fifty-one of the girls who escaped from their abductors were brought to the Presidential Villa earlier alongside the parents of those still in the camp of the Boko Haram.

The meeting was held under tight security and not even the State House correspondents were allowed to cover the closed-door meeting.

Also at the meeting were the governors of Borno and Bauchi States, Senate President, Ministers of Education, Finance, Information and other key officials in the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, including security personnel.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, addressed State House correspondents after the meeting, saying that the President used the opportunity of the meeting to empathize with the girls and their parents and reassured them that everything would be done to make things easier for them especially the ones that have already escaped and the ones yet to be rescued.

President Jonathan Vows To Free Abducted Chibok Girls

Goodluck Jonathan andabducted Chibok Girls parentsThe Federal Government has reassured Nigerians and the Chibok community of the Government’s determination to ensure that the abducted schoolgirls that are still in captivity are brought out alive.

This is the outcome of the special presidential meeting which was held with the parents of the Chibok girls in the Presidential Villa.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said that the President used the opportunity of the meeting to empathize with the girls and their parents and reassured them that everything would be done to make things easier for them especially the ones that have already escaped and the ones yet to be rescued.

“Statement was made by all the category representatives and they spoke their mind, they conveyed their messages and the girls spoke on the account of what they went through in the hands of their captors,” he said.

President Goodluck Jonathan also assured them that their education would not be allowed to suffer and after everything, evil would never prevail over good.

Fifty-one of the girls who escaped from their abductors, a terrorist group, Boko Haram, were brought to the presidential villa earlier alongside the parents of those still in the camp of the Boko Haram.

Chibok-Girls-at-meeting-with-president-jonathan
Some of the girls that escaped from their abductors were present at the meeting

The meeting was held under tight security and not even the State House correspondents were allowed to cover the closed-door meeting.

Before the meeting started, four of the brand new buses for the Abuja Urban Mass Transit were used to convey the girls and their parents from their hotel to the venue of the long expected meeting.

Journalists and security personnel watched as the girls and their parents, one after the other, beginning with the school principal, alighted from the buses.

Some other parents of the missing girls further alighted from another bus, with some of them looking devastated by the situation they found themselves in.

Into the hall proper, the escaped girls were meant to seat together about 51 of them. Parents of the girls still in captivity sat at one end, parents of the escaped girls were together, while the community and opinion leaders, who are not direct parents of the girls, also sat together.

President Jonathan joined them at about 11:15am local time to kick-start the special meeting.

Also at the meeting were the governors of Borno and Bauchi States, Senate President, Ministers of Education, Finance, Information and other key officials in the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, including security personnel.

 

 

Ezekwesili Stopped Chibok Community From Seeing Jonathan – Okupe

Doyin-OkupeThe Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Doyin Okupe on Wednesday, July 16, blamed the convener of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, of scuttling the proposed meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and parents of the abducted Chibok girls, who were in Abuja.

“I have it on good authority that the Chairman of the Chibok Community in Abuja and the parents were very enthusiastic and happy that the president was going to see them”, but was quick to add that “unfortunately the night before Malala left we knew there was something untoward that was already in the offing” he said.

Mr Okupe alleged that the Pakistani Child Rights Activist, Malala Yousafzai, before boarding a plane back “was on the telephone with some of the leaders of Bring Back Our Girls and in particular, Mrs Ezekwsili, who insisted to her that under no circumstances would they allow the girls and parents to visit the president” adding that “Malala was very upset and distraught that she was on the phone for about 40 minutes pleading.

“When she was not successful, she gave the phone to her father, who also passionately pleaded that having made this effort so far, it will be very sad and unbecoming and a major setback to the world if the Bring Back Our Girls campaign should frustrate that meeting” he said.

He described the incident as an unpleasant development in the bid to rescue the girls and added that “yesterday was really a dark day; a very unfortunate day that we had a very unpleasant development in this issue of Chibok”.

Speaking via a telephone interview on Sunrise Daily, Mr Okupe said “Malala broke down in tears” adding that “that they agreed with her that if she made that appointment they will go”

He however said President Jonathan has formally written to the Chibok Community to see him on the matter and debunked claims that Malala’s visit prompted the invitation.

He noted that several committees had on the instance of the Federal Government visited Chibok town but were not allowed to see either parents of the abducted girls or some of the girls that had escaped from their captors due to “fear of being seen on camera”.

He however noted that “it is the same people that were able to come to Abuja and didn’t cover their face(s), they were ready and willing to speak on camera openly to local and foreign media”.

He said the President has assured Nigerians that “he will do everything within his power to ensure that he brings the girls back safely”.

Suspicion Between Chibok Community And Federal Government

Meanwhile, a leader of the Chibok Community in Abuja, Mr Dauda Iliya, has blamed the refusal of the members of the community on the suspicion that lies between the Chibok Community and the Federal Government.

Also speaking via a telephone interview on Sunrise Daily, Mr Iliya said “as a Nation and as a people we have been traumatised; we have gone through a lot. There is suspicion between the Chibok people and government across board”.

He cited the “ugly incident where wives of some Chibok elders in Abuja were detained at the instance of the first lady” following a protest some days after the abduction as one of the reason for such suspicion.

He further noted that the incidence has “created deep suspicion and animosity between the Chibok leadership and government” adding that “we are not part of an arrangement for those nine parents and four girls to see the government”, Mr Iliya said.

Mr Iliya, who said the parents and girls brought from Chibok to see Malala used translators to communicate, further noted that “at the point that an arrangement was going to be made for these girls, purportedly to see the President, our people involved in the translation were barred by security agents from being part of that meeting” insisting that “that further aggravated and deepened the fear and animosity”.

Mr Iliya also noted the translators were shut out of a meeting with the Malala Foundation and “when the security agents and the Malala people were left with the nine parents and the girls they could not get their concerns because there was nobody to translate for them”

He however said that a meeting is possible if the President writes formally to invite the parents of the abducted girls and some of the girls that escaped from the den of the Boko Haram sect.

Mr Okupe had earlier said the President has sent a fresh letter of invitation to the community for another meeting scheduled for next week.

The Presidency alleged that efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan to meet with the parents of the Chibok girls hit the walls yesterday (Tuesday, July 15) following the refusal by the Nigerian ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners to allow parents of the girls, who were in Abuja, to meet with the President.

The leadership of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners have, however, denied the allegation. While they said that they would want more parents to be involved in the meeting, the Federal Government believe the campaigners are more interested in more showmanship than the plight of the children.

The Presidency said that Malala nearly missed her flight while pleading with the leadership of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign to allow those parents to meet with the President since they were already in Abuja.

Chibok Community Seeks United Nations’ Support

Chibok community to UNMembers of the Chibok community have appealed for the support of the United Nations in tackling the spate of insecurity in their community.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, the National Chairman of Kibaku Area Development Association, Dr Pogu Bitrus, said that the appeal to the international organisation became necessary going by total neglect by the Federal Government in providing adequate security to the community after over 200 girls were abducted.

“The inability or unwillingness of the Federal Government to provide adequate security to the Chibok community following the abduction of the girls leaves us with no option than to call on the United Nations to use its apparatus to come to our aid and protect us from the imminent annihilation as a people”, he said

Dr Pogu said that 81 days after the abduction, seven parents of the abducted girls had died, while over 229 persons have been killed after the attack on Government Girls Secondary School Chibok.

To prevent further attacks on their community and the north eastern part of the country, the group has also called for a negotiation between the Federal Government and members of the Islamic sect.