ABUJA—The Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, movement pointedly told President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday that he no longer had any excuse not to rescue the 218 Chibok school girls, saying the time to act was now.
Charging the President to fulfill one of his electioneering campaign promises, the #BBOG said it was time for President Buhari to lead his troops from the frontlines and invade the Sambisa forest where the girls are believed to be held by the Boko Haram terrorists.
Addressing the gathering, Chairman of Chibok community in Abuja, Mr Tsambido Hosea, recalled that his people had never voted for the opposition party, but decided to vote for Mr Buhari in the last general elections as a result of his firm pledge to rescue their daughters.
“Chibok people had often voted for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but in the last election, they voted wholeheartedly for the current President because of his promise to rescue our girls.
“Prof. Osinbajo promised us during campaign that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari would lead and go to the Sambisa Forest and rescue our girls, but nearly two years later, they have not done anything. Is that not corruption? If this government is not willing to bring back our girls, let them tell us and declare us non-Nigerians so that the world can rally round us.
“Let them declare Chibok people non-Nigerians so that the world can help them. People are ready to help us. We regret our votes for Buhari. If they cannot help us, let them tell us so that we would go for our girls. If we perish, we perish,” he said.
Police, NSCDC, DSS bar #BBOG from entering Aso Villa
Meanwhile, a full complement of security operatives drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, as well as the Department of State Services, DSS, had earlier barred the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, advocacy movement from accessing the presidential villa.
Unlike before when they were allowed access into the first gate of the State House, the protesters were stopped at the popular Bullet Junction, near the Head of Service building.
As part of its strategic engagement, the BBOG had declared a 14-day line-up of activities to force President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to act fast and more decisively in rescuing the 218 Chibok school girls.
Leading the protest
The protest was jointly led by Oby Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu, while the police detachment was led by CSP Chuks Obasi, even as his superior, ACP Dantawaye C.G, watched quietly.
Both Ezekwesili and CSP Obasi were involved in a shouting match as the officer insisted that the protesters would not cross the human barricade put together by the security operatives.
Ezekwesili expressed sadness that security operatives could be used to truncate a peaceful protest, saying #BBOG protesters had never been associated with violence since it began the advocacy over two years ago.
She said: “Let it be known that contrary to expectations that we shall be able to lay our agitation before the President, officers of the Nigeria Police stopped the citizens from putting forward their agitation to the President. But we shall place our tables here.
“As you can see, we have been stopped from proceeding further. We had written, requesting for a meeting with President Buhari, following the plea for rescue video in which we had Maida Yakubu begging that our Chibok girls be rescued from terrorists’ grip.
‘’That video was released on August 14. Today is August 22 and we have seen no clear action for rescue and that is why we are here, having written already to Mr President that we needed an audience.”
We are poor, but we’re citizens, cries mother of identified girl
Speaking on behalf of the Chibok parents, Dorcas Maida’s mother, Mrs Esther Yakubu, who addressed the protesters in an emotion-laden voice, said although the Chibok parents were poor, they were citizens of the global community who should be accorded the necessary assistance in the circumstance.
She berated the government for attempting to divert attention from the main issues regarding the rescue of the girls, saying government now has a lot of credible intelligence to rely on in rescuing the girls.