A high powered delegation of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) today visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa in furtherance of their campaign for the release of more than 200 abducted Chibok girls from Borno State.
The girls were on April 14, 2014 abducted by Islamist sect group Boko Haram but efforts of the government to rescue the girls have so far proven abortive. Led by its co-founders to the Villa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili and Mrs. Mariam Uwaise, the BBOG group made 13 demands from the federal government as regards the rescue of the abducted girls.
Presenting the demands, Ezekwesili who was also a former Minister of Education said that the government must make public apologies to the group and Nigerians in general for the failure of government that led to the abduction of the students while also giving firm and urgent promise to rescue them.
The demand of the group include:
* The Federal Government should spare no resources in urgently rescuing our 219 Chibok Girls as promised by the President and the National Security Adviser of the President at various times. Our Federal Government has the constitutional duty to give justice to our Chibok Girls by ensuring their immediate rescue. The rescue of OUR Chibok Girls will amount to the strongest statement that our Government has respect for the “Sanctity and Dignity of Every Nigerian Life.
* An apology for the failure of governance that led to the abduction.
* An apology for the failure of governance that caused failure to rescue our girls for over 400 days.
* Strategies for curbing the emergence, and growth of curious sects.
* Immediately set up a structured feedback and communication system that is composed of the Federal and Borno State Governments through designated security and ministerial authorities, the parents of the abducted girls, the Chibok (KADA) community, and citizens, through the BringBackOurGirls group. The feedback mechanism is so the Parents and the public can have regular updates on efforts to rescue our 219 Chibok Girls.
* We as a movement have designed a global best practice system of Verification, Authentication and Reunification System (VARS) abducted citizens who are rescued. The VARS is holistic for Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Resettlement of victims of abduction and can immediately be adopted by our Federal Government. To implement such a systemic approach of authentication we recommend that the Federal Government inaugurates a team comprising the National Security Adviser, Leaders of the Counter Insurgency Task Force, the Department of State Security on one hand; and State Governments of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, aided and supported by Local Authorities and Traditional Leaders, on the other hand and the representatives of abduction victims on the other hand. The Team should be tasked with credible implementation of the VARS. The primary task of the Team shall be to work with every abducted victim’s family and community to accurately ascertain the true identity of every such individuals and following their accurate identification to make available the comprehensive program for Recovery, Rehabilitation Resettlement and Reintegration to the rescued citizens. We advise that this system should be adopted for the 200 girls and 93 women rescued on the 28th April 2015.
The rehabilitation, resettlement and reintegration following their authentication should be implemented by both the Borno State Government and the Federal Government that make up the VARS Team and supported by development partners, NGOs and public-spirited Nigerians. Our movement, BringBackOurGirls, stands ready to support this initiative. Furthermore, grant access for BBOG to Chibok girls when rescued; thereby accepting our offer to support re-unification of rescued Chibok girls with their families as well their rehabilitation and reintegration.
* That the Federal Government will immediately set up a Commission of Inquiry for Accountability on Abduction and Rescue of OUR ChibokGirls. The Commission should be charged with the task of transparently investigating and reporting on the security lapses that caused their successful abduction and the operational leadership failures that led to their long captivity in terrorist enclave.
* That all Nigerians will join our BringBackOurGirlsmovement to continue to advocate for our 219 ChibokGirls until they are rescued and be prepared to embrace and welcome our Girls back home. That all Nigerians will join us demanding for the rescue of all other abducted citizens of our nation and their authentication and rehabilitation.
* Immediately set up a Missing Persons Bureau.
* Formally re-affirm the legitimacy and relevance of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign as a purely citizen contribution.
* Note, adopt and utilize BBOG Citizens’ Solution document to counter insurgency efforts.
* Note and adopt the #BringBackOurGirls Accountability Matrix with protocol, timelines and milestones to assist improve communication and synergy between all security structures and citizens.
* Consider the need for Community/Proximity Policing”
In his response to the group’s demands, president Buhari said regretted that the delayed response by the former government gave impetus to the escalated attacks.
“It’s unfortunate that the security and federal government conflicting report initially presented the government and its agencies in a very bad light both nationally and internationally because the law enforcement agencies and the government were conflicting each other sometimes within hours or within weeks. That is not very impressive.
“The delayed and late reaction by former government and its agencies was very unfortunate as I said. And I thank the leader of Chibok Community for the articulated priorities he has drawn about welfare of the families, of the communities and rehabilitation of infrastructure. I think government should provide these infrastructure as a matter of right.