Nigeria and BringBackOurGirls
Global Week of Action 8 – 14 April 2016: A Special Two-Years Commemoration of the Abduction of Our #ChibokGirls
Wednesday 8 April 2015
On April 14 — in just about 2 weeks from today, it will be exactly 2 full years since schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok were abducted in their school by terrorists.
In exactly 7 days we shall be commencing a Global Week of Action culminating on 14 April, to mark this unfortunate incidence and to refocus the world’s attention to the fact that 276 schoolgirls were abducted in their school, 57 escaped, 219 remain missing till date, with 17 of their parents losing their lives as a result of the trauma.
We urge persons wherever they may be to carry out activities to commemorate this event. There are activities already lined up in many cities of the world, we encourage everyone to participate and/or organise one, however simple.
Here is the link to some activities already lined up:
In Abuja, parents or wards who would want their children or wards to be part of the #ChibokGirls Ambassadors may complete the forms here:
This year’s theme is #HopeEndures.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
#BringBackOurGirls – 2nd Year Commemoration
GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION (April 8 – 14, 2016)
SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES (Abuja Family)
March 14 – April 14
Countdown to 2 years of abduction
Carry out a 30-day countdown to the 2nd year since abduction of our Chibok Girls.
Create unease and urgency among relevant actors so as to provoke the need to ensure our Chibok girls are brought back before the 2nd year; while rallying global attention, solidarity, sympathy, and support.
Unity Fountain & online
Islamic Prayers and Talks
– Special prayers at Jumat Service
– Asr Prayers @ Unity Fountain
– Talks by an Islamic Scholar
There would be Islamic prayers across the world for the safety and quick return of our Chibok girls. An Islamic Scholar would be invited to speak at the sit-out on: “Boko Haram is Not Islamic: Girls Education Is Islamic.”
Commit to God efforts to ensure our girls are brought back as well as gain insights on Islamic perspectives to girls’ education, women empowerment, and terrorism.
Hold a 90-minute TweetMeet with Dr. Oby Ezekwesili a view to engaging the online community of supporters of #BBOG while sensitizing others who have questions or need clarifications.
To ensure the online community to carried along while further growing the online population of supporters of the #BringBackOurgirls cause.
Christian Prayers and Talks
– Special Church Service/Prayers
– Service at the Unity Fountain
Prayers in churches across the world for the safety and quick return of our Chibok girls. A special church service would also hold at the Unity Fountain, with talks by a Pastor on: “The Role of the Church in efforts to #BringBackOurGirls and Ending Terrorism in Nigeria.”
To commit our girls and all efforts to bring them back to God; while sensitizing the Christian populace on the role of the church in Nigeria’s counterinsurgency efforts.
Workshop on the Nigerian Girl-Child
– High Level Discussions on issues affecting the Nigerian girl-child
– Remember and honour students and teachers killed by Boko Haram
– Launching of initiative for ‘Day of the Nigerian Student.’
The workshop would focus on several issues affecting girls with the theme: #EndangeredEducation. This is to have critical conversation on the safety of schools for learning, as well as building compelling narratives around the effects of terrorism on the uptake of education, quality of education, and the quest for education. The day would also be to remember and honour all students, teachers, and educationists who have been killed since the inception of Boko Haram; while launching a drive to ensure that every April 14 is approved and earmarks as the “Day of the Nigerian Student.” The Chibok Girls Ambassadors are to feature prominently in this event.
Ensure high-level conversation on the state of girls’ education in Nigeria, while harvesting thoughts and submissions, with a view to developing a common position that would shape further engagements, advocacies, decisions, and relevant actions.
Visits to UN and Embassies
– March to UN and 6 Embassies (US, France, UK, Canada, Australia, and Israel)
There would be visits to embassies of countries that pledged support with a view to getting feedback/updates as well as the outcome of the support they pledged in finding our girls.
Get status Report of the pledged support in finding the Chibok Girls, as well as constraints/challenges, where we are, and a possible way forward that’d produce result.
Starting at UN Office on Diplomatic Drive, Central Area
Walkathon, Red-Ribbon Day, and Evening of Arts
– Remembering the Chibok Girls
– Led by Chibok Girls Ambassadors
– Evening of Poetry, Arts, and Music
Walk around strategic locations in Abuja with a view to tying around red ribbons to serve as a reminder that our Chibok Girls are yet to be brought back. Later, there’d be an evening of Poetry, Arts, Spoken Words, Drama, Choreography, and Music where the plights of our Chibok Girls, abductees, IDPs, and other victims of insurgency are portrayed through arts.
To reawaken the minds of the people, and remind them that despite efforts, our Chibok Girls are yet to be brought back. Also, utilize creativity, through arts, in invoking the necessary emotions that would convey the need for urgent relevant actions.
Protest and Press Conference
– Protest to the Villa
– World Press Conference
This is a protest to the Presidency with a view to registering our frustration and grievance. We would converge at the point where we are allowed. We would address a World Press Conference at the point of convergence.
Communicate our frustrations and demands to the government and the world.
Takeoff point, Unity Fountain
26 March 2016
We received news yesterday Friday 25 March, of an arrested girl-child suicide bomber in Cameroon who identified herself as one of our abducted Chibok girls.
We are presently unable to respond to this news conclusively until we have facts from the Nigerian government; from whom we requested and have eagerly been awaiting official information on the matter.
In the interim however, our thoughts are as follows:
i. The claim by the young woman that she is a Chibok girl should reawaken the Nigerian government to the zeal and commitment necessary for ensuring that they are rescued and brought back;
ii. This development suggests that we now have a possible source of credible intelligence as to what transpired, where the others are, and other leads required to facilitate their rescue.
2. Regardless of whether she is one of our Chibok girls or not, our thoughts and sentiments remain the same:
i. using children, girls who should be in school (or any humans at all) as suicide bombers is not only tragic and cruel, it is completely reprehensible and we denounce it;
ii. these children suicide bomber are themselves victims, and must be seen and treated as such;
iii. we all must hasten to free all those in captivity. For as long as they are with the monsters, we all are ourselves unsafe and equally in captivity;
iv. a few weeks ago, a girl suicide bomber did not detonate her device at an IDP camp because she knew her family was most likely in that camp, and she could not kill them.
It is important to send out messages that counter the programming of the terrorists. This may help in empowering these victims from detonating the explosives and accessing help;
v. this particular experience highlights the importance of building not only a regional coalition among neighbouring countries to counter terror, but a global one.
3. The Nigerian government as a matter of urgency, needs to swiftly act to ascertain the facts of this matter and make them public. It is getting to 24 hours since the news broke.
We need to know her name and identity, her parents’ names, where she is from, possibly extract DNA samples for quick testing and matching, etc.
4. This should be a wakeup call to the Nigerian government to adopt and utilise our citizens-developed tool the Verification, Authentication, and Reunification System (VARS) designed by our movement for such scenarios as these. This tool was accepted by the federal government on 8 July 2015 during our meeting with the president, but has not been deployed.
Likewise, the Missing Persons Register which would have been useful in tracking this young victim in order to commence her rehabilitation, reunification, and reintegration process with her family and community.
WE ARE EAGERLY WAITING.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
Monday 14 March 2016
Today is exactly 700 days since 276 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok were abducted in their school on 14 April 2014; 57 escaped, 219 remain missing. Today is also 31 days to exactly 2 years since this horrendous tragedy that blights our humanity took place.
One month ago on 14 February we launched our monthly monitoring tool, the #BBOGMonthlyMonitoringInitiative, and presented our first report covering 14 January to 13 February. Kindly read the report here: http://www.bringbackourgirls.ng/bbogmonthlymonitoringinitiative-bbog-press-statement/.
Today we are delighted to present the second report covering 14 February to 13 March.
B. Matters Arising from Last Month’s Report
1. In our maiden report, we began with our 14 January engagement with Mr President, outlining the specific action points and commitments made by the administration. Regrettably, 2 full months after, there is NO evidence available to us that any of the commitments has been or is being worked on.
2. Unfortunately, the outcome of investigations carried out with the arrest of Jarasu Shira, who was said to be a Boko Haram ‘kingpin’ with significant role in our ChibokGirls’ abduction is still being awaited. According to the Military, a Boko Haram ‘top commander’ was also captured and another operative on the Most Wanted List killed.
We expect the public would be appropriately informed of the outcome of these investigations. Also, we consider it very important that clarification be made as to who a Boko Haram kingpin, mastermind or commander is, and what distinguishes one from the other. How many have been killed or captured? How many are out there known to our Security forces?
3. We requested that the military provides exact figures, as against approximations of the numbers of those rescued in the counterinsurgency effort, their identities and updates on their welfare. These would, among other issues, help to enhance their human dignity.
In the past month, the military has been giving exact figures of women, men, children rescued, including items recovered. In some cases, the reports cover the number of fatalities and those wounded in the combats. This is very commendable. We hope that soon, the full reports would be made public for each operation as earlier requested.
4. In the last report, the Department of State Security, DSS apprehended an ISIS recruiter along with recruits. This time the police arrested yet another recruiter with another set of recruits.
C. Synopsis of Month 2 Under Review in the Media
1. Women and Children rescued from Boko Haram captivity are facing stigmatization and discrimination. The women are unfairly termed ‘Boko Haram wives’.
2. Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai says Boko Haram has been ‘largely defeated’, and that the rescue of our Chibok girls is underway.
3. Senator Shehu Sani -who it would be recalled had on different occasions facilitated the meeting of an ex-Nigerian president with the family of the late Boko Haram founder and another with Boko Haram leadership in order to secure the release of our Chibok girls- insists that they are alive, and offers solutions on how they can be brought back if the government is willing.
4. Another returnee from Boko Haram captivity relayed her encounter meeting some of our Chibok girls. This provides a credible lead as to their whereabouts.
5. The Dutch Embassy has pledged technical support from their home country for the reconstruction of the Northeast. Turkey has also indicated interest in supporting the counterinsurgency effort.
The United States is considering resending her special operations troops to boost the capacity of Nigerian forces, after leaving in 2014.
The Nigerian defence minister, Mansur Dan-Ali announced that South Africa is to send her special forces to fight Boko Haram. However, the South African defence ministry spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini responded thus, ‘There is no such decision to send any military elements by the RSA [Republic of South Africa] to assist with fight against Boko Haram.’
6. Key roads in Borno formerly under lockdown for years have been reopened for civilian use, particularly the Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu federal highway.
An Army Motorcycle Battalion has been composed to man the route. Commendable as this is, we are of the opinion that it is better to have a joint police-military patrol, and eventually a police patrol team as against a purely military one; as it is not the duty of the military to police a civilian space considering that the road is now open to civilians. This we believe will free the military to go farther into the hinterland to decimate the insurgents.
7. Prosecution of former military service chiefs over misappropriation of defence funds meant to fight the insurgency and rescue our Chibok girls has begun with the ex-chief of defence staff.
We urge all Nigerians to closely follow the details of proceedings in these trials.
8. Three schoolgirls kidnapped in their school in Lagos were rescued after 6 days, and kidnappers arrested due to focused leadership by the Lagos state governor, swift deployment of the police and a results-oriented rescue mission.
We commend especially the Lagos state Governor and Police Commissioner for a diligent job and, for their empathy and professionalism in keeping the public abreast of the efforts of the State. Their collective actions assuaged the people’s apprehension and instil hope and confidence in the rescue efforts.
We feel had our Chibok girls been pursued with this same zeal and focus by the previous administration, they could have been rescued and brought home by now.
9. Commander of the United States Africa Command, General David Rodriguez says President Buhari overstated Boko Haram’s losses by saying that Boko Haram no longer holds any Nigerian territory.
This statement is clearly counterfactual to our military’s regular briefings on the dislodgement of the Boko Haram sects from all territories they hitherto occupied.
D. Next Steps
1. In exactly 4 weeks from today, it will be Two (2) full years since the abduction of our Chibok girls in their school on 14th April, 2014. We are hopeful of their rescue before then. Irrespective of what may come to be, whether they are successfully rescued or not, we shall mark the milestone with a Global Week of Action starting Friday 8th April through to Thursday 14th April, 2016. The symbolism of what our Chibok girls represent must never be lost on us.
We urge everyone to kindly mark their calendars, start planning and be ready to make the events memorable and impactful.
As usual, we eagerly look forward to our collective victory, and the end of the terrorist attacks; the safe return of our Chibok girls and all other abductees, the return refugees and IDPs back to their homes and the return of normalcy, peace and safety to Northeast Nigeria. A time of tranquillity that would make reconstruction of the region feasible and realizable.
We proudly salute our gallant fighting men and women of the Nigerian military, the Multinational Joint Taskforce, MNJTF; the police, all the security services, including the local volunteers and Vigilante at the frontlines. We can never thank you enough. We wish you resounding success in the days and weeks ahead.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
7 March 2016
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our movement’s family member Mubaraka Sani, yesterday 6 March 2016, in a road accident on Kaduna-Abuja road. She was buried yesterday according to Islamic rites.
Muba (as we call her) was one our movement’s most passionate advocates. Her gentle and calm spirit belied her relentless fighting spirit and passion for justice. Among other things, she longed to see our Chibok girls reunited with their families. She yearned for a just and equitable Nigeria with equal opportunities for all. She fought hard for a better Nigeria.
Indeed, yet another soldier fighting for the soul of Nigeria has gone home.
Today Muba may be no more alive, but she will forever be remembered for all she did for humanity. She quietly but surely made a difference in those she encountered. Her contributions will never be erased or forgotten.
Again, the worth of life is not necessarily in its longevity but in impact, and value added. We are inspired by her life example. She was calm, kind, and caring. Her warm presence and consistency will be sorely missed, but surely never forgotten.
She is survived by both parents, siblings and other relations. May Almighty God give her family and the #BringBackOurGirls family worldwide the enablement to bear this loss.
Our movement therefore holds a 3-day mourning as part of activities to honour her memory at our usual meeting grounds, Unity Fountain Abuja, as from 4pm beginning this Monday 7 to Wednesday 9 March. There we shall also sign the condolence register.
4 March 2016
Today is 4 days since schoolgirls of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, Lagos were kidnapped in their school this past Monday, 29 February. This attack bears an eerie semblance with the abduction of 276 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok in their school 690 days ago today, on Monday 14 April 2014. 57 escaped, 219 are still missing.
Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the parents, relations, colleagues, etc, of our kidnapped #IkoroduGirls.
We find this kidnap unacceptable and denounce it in the strongest terms. We have repeatedly said that failure to rescue our Chibok schoolgirls would embolden others to replicate same atrocity, knowing that they can get away with it. We must stop these evildoers.
We commend the Lagos state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode for initiating and leading Lagos State Government’s proactive response to the kidnap, for reaching out to calm frayed nerves, and the continued assurances that all is being done to bring them back.
However, we task especially the federal government to set up mechanisms that ensure that citizens are safe as is the primary duty of government. We particularly want schoolchildren to be safe in their schools. Schoolchildren should never be put in the position of contemplating between being in school and being safe and secure.
We also demand that the Safe Schools Initiative (and other endeavours like it) to be implemented in a transparent manner that serves its purpose.
We also denounce in strong terms the shabby handling of the Miss Ese Oruru abduction matter, especially by some sections of the media and the Nigeria Police Force. Miss Ese Oruru is a child victim who was abducted, but some sections of the media exposed her face without blanking any parts to protect her, while (deliberately or not) shielding the villain who abducted her. Some sections of the media also promoted falsehoods about this unfortunate incidence, making it difficult at first to ascertain the truth about the unfortunate incident. This we condemn.
The police on their part were notified and aware that this young girl who should be in school was taken away from her home, parents, and family without their consent since August 2015, but did nothing about it up to February 2016. This sloppiness and unprofessionalism we condemn in the strongest terms. Those within the force found to have been part of this shameful conduct must be identified and punished accordingly. Our police must be made to be more responsive. The lives of citizens must be dignified, and welfare prioritised at all times.
This child may now be back with her parents, but the matter is not yet over. The handling of this matter and logical closure on it would determine how the matter of our #ChibokGirls and #IkoroduGirls would be handled when they return. We therefore urge all to be engaged on it.
1. The abductor and all those involved in the abduction must be identified and punished to the full extent of the law. Likewise all those involved in keeping her while she was away from her parents without the their consent;
2. All those who should have resolved this matter promptly since August 2015 and made the offenders face the law but did not, must be identified and punished accordingly;
3. A deliberate process of her psychological and other rehabilitation, reintegration, and resettlement back into her family and community should commence immediately. Her family and community need all the support they can get. ‘It takes a community to raise a child’;
4A. What mechanisms can be put in place to prevent future occurrence?
4B. How many other such unreported cases as this exist out there?
We enjoin all to unite, let us together fight and conquer this menace that threatens our humanity, and right to education especially for our young ones.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
#BringBackOurGirls honours the memory of schoolboys murdered at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi 2 years after
25 February 2016
We welcome you all with heavy but grateful hearts to this solemn event.
Today, we assemble to honour the memory of our brave boys of the Federal Government College (FGC), Buni Yadi, murdered in their school by Boko Haram terrorists 2 years ago today on 25 February 2014.
On this day two years ago, a rampaging band of killers laid siege on the FGC, Buni Yadi. They separated the boys from the girls and slit the throats of 29 of them afterwards. The only ‘crime’ of our Buni Yadi schoolboys was that they were bold and ambitious enough to seek a better and more assured future through education.
The misguided killers consider education and our liberties as citizens and humans as a crime that deserves brutish extermination. But in death, our Buni Yadi boys stand taller. Our boys are HEROES for even daring to get educated in an environment that had become hostile to their collective aspirations.
Further to that, of the 29 who were murdered, only 8 were junior students. The remaining 21 were senior students whom we are told stayed back to help the junior students escape instead of self-preserving by running for dear life, and ran out of time.
They are symbols of hope to every child who will dare to dream and be brave enough to pursue same. Their stories, heroics and humanity humble us today. And, for ages to come, their sacrifice will be told by men and women of conscience.
The grief of their families and friends were made worse by the poor response, especially the federal government and its line agency directly responsible for the management of the school, the Federal Ministry of Education.
After the murder the relations of the deceased were not reached and consoled. They were allowed to grieve alone. It is unacceptable for ours to be a society that lacks humanity. This disaster was treated in such a perfunctory manner that for 2 years, the exact numbers and names of is uncertain, as the government did not publish the names, and identities.
The relations were only half-heartedly contacted after our 1-year remembrance, last year. We find this unacceptable. The welfare of citizens is the primary duty of government.
The pain of their gruesome death still pierces through the walls of our hearts. Words alone cannot capture the harrowing experience their parents and other relations have been subjected to. Our children, both boys and girls, must never be made to choose between staying alive and getting an education.
It would be recalled that on 29 September 2013, the terrorists attacked and killed a reported 44 students of College of Agriculture, Gujba in Yobe state. Not much was done, hardly any lessons learnt which resulted in the attack on FGC Buni Yadi, within the same state. Not much was done, hardly any lessons learnt, the terrorists who hitherto attacked only boys got emboldened and abducted 276 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok on 14 April 2014.
As we commemorate our young heroes today, we specially demand of the federal government today to:
1. Ensure that the controversy over the actual numbers of our #BuniYadiHeroes who were cut down brutishly be immediately established.
How many boys were killed in Buni Yadi on the 25th of February, 2014? Was it 59 or 29?
Less than 2 weeks ago during our #BBOGMonthlyMonitoringInitiative we explained the importance of government swiftly owning the narrative, dignifying citizens, and resting all speculations by publishing the names and identities of victims of attacks and/or of those rescued.
The media promoted the news of killed in the Buni Yadi attacks. Considering that our movement sources information primarily from verifiable media outlets, last year we published 59 names collated from residents of Buni Yadi and the media.
However, we have obtained from the school, 29 names as confirmed from the parents represented here.
It is of utmost importance for the government to put this controversy to rest once and for all.
2. Ensure that the parents and relations are listened to, with all concerns addressed.
We consider it an opportune time for the federal government to set up trauma and grief counselling centres across the country, in view of the incalculable tragedies that have ravaged especially the Northeast region since the Boko Haram insurgency with attendant consequences.
3. Account for, and ensure that the remaining schoolchildren, the teaching and non-teaching staff of the FGC Buni Yadi, are reabsorbed into other Unity Schools across Nigeria so they can continue their education in the short term.
When shall their school be rebuilt? Where does the school come in under the Safe School Initiative?
We task interest groups like the Unity Schools Old Students Association (USOSA) and others to take up this matter and pursue to its conclusion.
Our society must see and accept that one of the surest ways out of the primitivism, poverty and the attendant hopelessness that aided the emergence of the misguided insurgents in the Northeast is the rejuvenation and revival of the comatose educational systems in the country.
The responsibility to educate our children and ensure that all of them acquire an education to develop human capital which is our key and most important resource is non-negotiable, and is on the Nigerian society. The federal government must take the lead with political will and an improved framework that not only secures our children and the lives of every stakeholder, from the parents to the teachers, many of whom have also become victims, but ultimately ensures education never stops for every child. Education and our liberties are under attack. This must be seen as a new mandate: Education Must Continue no matter the tragedy!
The implementation of the objects and goals of the Safe Schools Initiative must, as a matter of urgency, be moved off the drawing boards, dusty shelves and selective deployment approach unto achievable action-driven and verifiable timelines.
The education sector deserves emergency attention, if we must avoid an imminent social conflagration and econo-industrial stagnation. The sector is a major tool that can deliver the prosperous future that we dream and aspire for our great country Nigeria.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
SCHOOLBOYS MURDERED AT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COLLEGE, BUNI YADI ON 25 FEBRUARY 2014
1. Abba Adam (SS 3)
2. Abbas Ali Mohammed (SS 2)
3. Abbas Ibrahim Abdul (SS 1)
4. Abiodun Josef (SS 3)
5. Abdu Sherif Ibrahim (SS 1)
6. Abdullahi Adamu (SS 3)
7. Abdulmalik Mohammed (SS 3)
8. Aliyu Musa (SS 3)
9. Awal Adam (SS 1)
10. Bamai Ali Goni (SS 3)
11. Bashir Lamido (SS 1)
12. Bashir Mai Gana (SS 3)
13. Hedima Likita Mari (JS 3)
14. Ibrahim Ali (JS 2)
15. Ibrahim Sommy (JS 2)
16. Isa Elisha (JS 3)
17. John Peter (JS 1)
18. John Wando (JS 3)
19. Mohammed Abdullahi Daya (JS 3)
20. Mohammed Ali Hassan (SS 1)
21. Mohammed Aminu Abubakar (SS 1)
22. Musa Yalti Buba (SS 1)
23. Mustafa Abubakar Ali (SS 3)
24. Shuaibu Ali (SS 3)
25. Solomon Kwmta (SS 1)
26. Suleiman Mohammed Gussa (SS 3)
27. Usman Abba Kawagu (JS 2)
28. Usman Mai Saleh (SS 3)
29. Yahuza Ali Auta (SS 3)
Month 1: 14 January to 13 February 2016
Sunday 14 February 2016
Following the 14 January 2016 meeting between Mr President, and the parents of Chibok girls, the Chibok community, we are continuing our daily “sit out” that holds at 5 pm Monday- Sunday at the Unity Fountain, Abuja and every Sayurday at Falomo roundabout, Lagos at 11 am. The “Sit Out” is our Movement’s flagship advocacy activity.
To amplify our daily advocacy , we have invited you today to the launch of our new Monthly Monitoring Initiative . The #BringBackOurGirls movement shall henceforth hold a special conference on the 14th of every month to present the report of our monthly monitoring of the activities of the Federal Government, the Security and Military in respect of their rescue of OUR #ChibokGirls and other abducted citizens. Our tracking tools will be activated from this month to collate all such verifiable information and to organize, analyze, interrogate and disseminate for purposes of demanding accountability from the Federal Government. We expect our monthly tracking tool to help our advocacy and the general public more coherently follow, observe, substantiate, comment on and interrogate the true status of the rescue effort and the broader counter insurgency war.
Our monthly briefings will cover all the specific advocacy outcomes since the commencement of our Movement and which are founded on our ever-abiding faith and hope that:
1. Our #ChibokGirls and all other abducted citizens of Nigeria can be rescued by our Federal Government and the military through the timely execution of an effective, sustained, targeted and result-focused rescue strategy and operation.
2. That all internally displaced citizens of Nigeria including those who are refugees in other lands and other victims of the terrorist activities in the North East must be rehabilitated, reintegrated and resettled into their communities and secured habitation with restored livelihood by our Federal , State, Local Governments in partnership with civil society and the private sector.
3. That our country can conclusively win this insurgency war against the terrorists who are our common enemies and restore the territorial integrity and peace of Nigeria, especially the North East.
4. That our Federal Government, security and military teams will act and communicate transparently to nurture healthy partnerships and collaborations with citizens and communities as they prosecute the counter-insurgency war.
B. Matters Arising from the 14 January 2016 Engagement with Mr President
1. At that meeting, the president in reassuring the parents of our ChibokGirls and our movement, restated his personal and the administration’s prioritization of the agenda for the rescue and safe recovery of our 219 Chibok girls. In his words “He sleeps and wakes up thinking of the rescue of the girls”. However, our Movement was grossly disappointed on the fact of Mr. President’s candid statement that the Federal Government still lacks according to the President, “credible intelligence on their whereabouts”.
Our Movement offered suggestions of publicly available information on at least three sources that could be looked upon in the Federal Government’s quest to gather credible intelligence (please find our January 14 , 2016 statement on the engagement with the President #BBOGReengagesPMB http://www.bringbackourgirls.ng/bringbackourgirls-post-re-engagement-statement-with-president-buhari/).
2. There were three specific action points resulting from our meeting with the Federal Government:
A. The National Security Adviser, NSA’s made a strong commitment to institutionalize the structured feedback mechanism that would keep the parents, community, and our movement updated on progress being made with the Federal Government rescue operation;
B. There would be an unveiling of an initiative related to the rescue of our Chibok girls as approved by the President.
Note: We and the general public have since been informed that the initiative is the launch of a new investigation by the Federal Government into the abduction of our Chibok girls.
C.1. The NSA pledged to work more closely with the parents, Chibok community, and our movement to evolve a model security/military- civilian relationship and collaboration. This would be especially targeted at information-sharing to boost the intelligence-gathering effort of the Federal Government.
C. 2 Our report at this time is that we have no evidence on whether any of the three action points have commenced since after our January 14th meeting. We are therefore unable to make an assessment of implementation of all three actions. We reaffirm our expectations on all three action points to the National Security Adviser. We especially restate the necessity to disclose by publishing the report of the Brigadier General Sambo Presidential Task Force on the Abduction of ChibokGirls. Our request using the Freedom of information Act to demand disclosure stands relevant still as such transparency will help encourage more people with relevant information to approach the Federal Government.
C. 3 It is pertinent to also remind the Federal Government of pending actions on the submissions made by our movement at the July 8, 2015 meeting with Mr. President on which he had committed the administration ‘s action. Among our submissions were the following instruments designed and developed by our movement to support the efforts of government:
* Citizens’ Solution to End Terrorism’
* Verification, Authentication, and Reunification System [for returnees of Boko Haram captivity],
*ABC of Our Demand’,
*Chronicles of False Narratives and Inconsistencies by the Nigerian Government Over the Rescue of the Abducted Chibok Schoolgirls’,
* Proposal for a National Missing Persons Register.
Note: We have since commenced partnership on the design of the Register with the National Human Rights Commission.
D. Announcement of a ChibokGirls Desk by the minister of women affairs and social development who informed that a letter written to the Movement to that effect was available.
Instructively, subsequent attempts by the Movement to collect the said letter were futile as our representative was informed that there was no record of such letter. However, the representative of the Movement was recently informed by the minister of women affairs that she was under instructions ‘from above’ not to have any dealings whatsoever with our movement.
We shall be formally writing to verify this position.
C. Synopsis of Month 1 Under Review in the Media
ISSUE1 According to the military authorities, a ‘Boko Haram kingpin’ named Jarasu Shira, said to be linked to the abduction of our Chibok girls was apprehended by our soldiers.
#BBOG Position: Sadly since that news was widely publicized, there has been no further updates news as to whether the accused has been fully identified and if his arrest is providing any leads toward the rescue of our #ChibokGirls. This attitude of the military in never conclusively providing the public information that it releases is not new. We however are extremely disappointed that the new military leadership is repeating the condemnable habits of their predecessors. For example, the public would recall that the military had announced the arrest of one Babuji Ya’ari on 30 June 2014, who it said was central to the abduction of the #ChibokGirls. Despite our movement’s relentless enquiries on the status of the accused, there has been no further information almost two years after.
We therefore advise that the military must change its troubling pattern of withholding salient facts of any incident or situation that should be publicly disclosed. When factual information is available to the public, it helps to enhance the citizens’ confidence in government’s effort to tackle counterinsurgency.
ISSUE 2. More recently, several hundreds of our citizens were reported by the military to have have been rescued from the terrorists capture .
#BBOG Position: As a movement, we are extremely delighted that more citizens are regaining their freedom. We again reiterate that our advocacy for our #ChibokGirls as a symbol for all other abducted citizens stands determined to keep demanding for the rescue of all our compatriots forcefully held captive in enemy enclave.
While we celebrate their success in rescuing these citizens, we however consider the military’s current practice of never identifying those it secures freedom for, as totally unacceptable and against global practice. For the dignity of our fellow citizens, we demand that the military and NEMA must begin to fully provide the identities of every rescued citizen. For transparency and accountability purposes, we demand from the Federal Government, immediate release of the names of all citizens that have so far been rescued from the captivity of terrorists. We want to know “Where they are from, their verified or verifiable identities, their rehabilitation, reintegration and resettlement plan for these victims for whom freedom should be the beginning of an orderly life.
ISSUE 3. The Nigeria Police Force hoisted its flag at its Mobile Police Training School, Gwoza once taken over by terrorists, as part of handover activities from the military to the civilian authorities in the school and the areas.
#BBOG Position: We are delighted that we have reclaimed our important territory and facility from the enemy. We however wish to remind the police authorities of their missing colleagues who were allegedly abducted when Gwoza and their facility was taken over by terrorists two years ago. The families of those missing police officers are still in touch with our Movement seeking for answers on the status of their relatives. We urge the IGP to immediately take steps to provide progress report on the whereabouts of his officers who were abducted while on active duty and to provide relief to their families.
ISSUE 4. The Department of State Security, DSS announced apprehending an ISIS recruiter along with his recruits. The Nigerian Army also announced arresting 2 of theirs who were aiding the terrorists.
This report is heartening and gives hope. It shows their being proactive. A failure of intelligence as has repeatedly been noted is our weakest link in this fight against terrorism.
ISSUE 5. Further to this, the Army has handed over its officers: 7 generals and 2 colonels to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for investigations over their complicity in diverting funds intended to fight the insurgency. However, the report says if they are found guilty, they would be court marshaled.
We like majority of the public suggest that since the investigation indicting them was done by the EFCC, it should be allowed to also undertake the prosecution of the offenders in conventional courts for their crimes of corruption. However, for all other matters relevant to their military functions, the Army or their relevant forces can take additional necessary actions according to their institutional traditions.
ISSUE 6. An elder statesman and former Nigerian president averred that our Chibok girls will never return, or maybe perhaps in the next 20 or 30 years, we having missed the opportunity to rescue them within 72 hours of their abduction in 2014. That the hope for their return is pointless, and anyone who who promises to rescue them ‘is lying’.
As a movement, we hold the strong view that since neither the Federal Government nor its security/ military team has provided any counter evidence that our ChibokGirls are still alive, we must all continue to work toward their rescue.
Furthermore, Mr President–President Muhammadu Buhari again recently made a statement to the world at his European Parliament speech that he remains committed to rescuing the girls. We choose to keep our hope for the girls rescue alive and call on the President to do more to quickly gather the credible intelligence necessary to effect their safe rescue.
ISSUE 6. Following the Dalori attacks on 30 January, Senator Baba Kaka Garbai, formerly Borno commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, now senator representing Borno Central senatorial district, revealed that Boko Haram terrorists still occupy vast swathes of Nigerian territory. Specifically, according to him, only 3 local government areas: Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, Bayo, and Kwaya Kusar local government areas of the state are completely under the Nigerian state control. Mobar, Abadam, and Kala Balge local government areas are firmly in Boko Haram’s control. Of the remaining 21 local government areas, whereas the state has control of the local government headquarters and other key towns, Boko Haram operate at the outskirts. This statement contradicts the President’s recent update “that Boko Haram has been routed and controls no space of Nigerian territory.”
The Borno State Governor, Dr. Kashim Shettima rebutted the senator’s reports and asked that it be discountenanced even though some residents of Borno insist that the lawmaker is accurate.
#BBOG Position: The Federal Government can easily substantiate its position by assembling a team of independent media and civil society advocates to join the military in a tour of all the reclaimed territories. Such transparent and independent journalism around the conditions in those communities should help establish the real conditions of the communities and help build the confidence of many who fled those territories to begin to return in line with the pronouncements of the Federal Government.
ISSUE 7. Sequel to the Dikwa attacks on 9 February, the vice president issued a statement of comfort and hope to the families of the deceased, the victims and their families, the people and government of Borno (in that order), and Nigerians at large. He gave assurances that the state would deploy its full might to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to book; as well as President Buhari’s care, concern and continued commitment to completely annihilate the terrorist and keep every Nigerian safe.
Whereas we noted the gesture of the Vice President, we were sad to recall that such message of condolence was the first in over three months period that several citizens have been killed and maimed in various bomb blasts and shooting incidents in the North East. The silence from the Federal Government that had usually followed such tragedies cannot in any way be justified especially when governments of other countries extend condolences to our citizens. We maintain that in moments of such national tragedies Nigerians should hear from our President. By showing empathy and offering comfort, hope, strength, and assurance, Mr. President helps to unify a nation in grief against our common enemy- the terrorists. Empathy, we insist should be the bedrock of governance and it behoves our President to exemplify such a Value construct for our nation. Going beyond statements , the Federal Government should always mount a high profile delegation that visits victims of such tragedies to demonstrate the humanness of our society
ISSUE 8. Nigerians troops at the frontlines have cried out to the president to look into the issue of their unpaid allowances for months.
#BBOG Position : We condemn in entirety any delays in the payment of salaries and other entitlements of our soldiers in the frontline of battle. We therefore urge Mr. President to direct the military authorities and Ministry of Finance to immediately resolve this extremely embarrassing issue and uproot any demoralizing seeds among the gallant nigerian soldiers fighting to secure our land and people.
ISSUE 9. The authorities of the Nigerian Air force, NAF announced that the location of our Chibok girls has been identified.
#BBOG Position :
We recall with agonizing pain that previously , on the 26th May 2014 Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, the then chief of defense staff, declared to a traumatized public that our girls had been sighted and that the military knew where they were. That was nearly two years ago. While we are eager to receive news of the rescue efforts, we however caution against any attempt at repeating the ignoble media sensationalism by the military of the past leadership.
We therefore urge the Nigerian military to desist from releasing and feeding the public with speculative news. What the parents, community, our movement and the general public seek from our Federal Government and its security/military team are facts and information backed by evidence. If indeed the Air force has located where our #ChibokGirls are being held in captivity , can the Government offer much more than it did in that news?
It is further confusing as the NAF spokesperson sent an email to the media denying that very report spoken by himself on television as a ‘misquotation’ by the media.
ISSUE 10. The military has released 275 suspected Boko Haram members.
#BBOG Position: We hope that utmost diligence was used in this exercise and than they would still be subject to some measure of monitoring to avoid releasing any dangerous persons into communities. We also hope that there is a program for resettlement for those unjustly detained over that period of time of incarceration.
D. TWO KEY CONCERNS
1. We seem not to have learned much from our mistakes of the past. Many of the issues and our positions on them are reminiscent of what we profiled from our first monitoring exercise known then as #BBOGCountdownTo6Weeks. That particular monitoring tool was launched one year ago on the 14th of February 2015. It compels us to declare that we cannot afford to ignore the lessons of the past. Our Federal Government should lead in the learning process so that we can gain the benefit of our experiences of the past two years. To demonstrate this , it is critical that all of us; The Federal Government, state governments, local governments, our political leaders, communities and their leaders, civil society , the entire citizenry and our media would embark on review of how to better play our collaborative roles to achieve the overarching victory over our common enemies.
2. This week in 2015, when Mr. President was running for office and visited Borno for campaigns, it was reported that he had planned to visit Chibok but did not due to logistics reasons. In fact, on 17 February 2015 some sections of the media reported that he actually did go to Chibok. But it was later clarified by his official communications team that he did not.
In the light of the January visit to him by more than a hundred parents of our ChibokGirls and the agony with which they returned to Chibok, we consider it extremely important for Mr. President to pay that pending visit now to Chibok. This is also especially appropriate, considering the recent tragedies when many in that community were killed and wounded in multiple blasts.
The President does in fact need to embark on a comprehensive tour of the North East areas most hit by terrorist activities; especially in Borno (and Yobe). Some areas to be visited may include those communities needing reassurance of the government for their residents to return and resettle into normal life. Such a gesture of visits would help restore confidence to the residents more than a thousand words can.
We also recommend a visit to the South East by Mr. President.
E. Next Steps
1. Within the 11 days, that is precisely on 25 February 2016 we shall take out special time to remember our 59 schoolboys of Federal Government College, FGC Buni Yadi who were murdered by terrorists in their school 2 years ago on 25 February 2014. Their parents, families and colleagues still feel the pain of their loss as fresh as they did 2 years ago. They have not been treated kindly by our government and society.
On that day, their family members, and other sympathisers would be joining us to hold a special sit-out at our usual meeting grounds Unity Fountain Abuja at 4.45 pm which will include a candlelight vigil in honour of our young heroes, and to refocus attention on the tragedy in order to elicit the necessary actions to bring closure to this tragedy.
We call on all to carry out an activity to honour their memory. Kindly use the hashtag #BuniYadi59.
2. Today is exactly 8 weeks to 2 full years since the abduction of our Chibok girls in their school on 14 April 2014. We are expecting them back before then; however, whether they return or not, Friday 8 through 14 April 2016 shall be the Global Week of Action to mark this milestone.
We urge everyone to please mark your calendars, start planning and working towards how best to mark this milestone.
As usual, eagerly look forward to our collective victory, and the end of terrorist oppression; the safe return of our Chibok girls and all other abductees, the return refugees and IDPs back home; and ultimately the return of normality, peace and safety especially to northeast Nigeria. A time when such an ordeal shall never be experienced.
We are very proud to salute our gallant fighting men and women of the Nigerian military, the MNJTF, all the security services, including the volunteer Civilian JTF at the frontlines. We wish them resounding success in the days and weeks ahead.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
President Buhari at the European Parliament reiterates pledge to not rest until all our Chibok girls are rescued
3 February 2016
‘It may interest you to know that in a recent meeting I had with parents of the Chibok girls, I assured them that government would not rest until all the the girls are rescued alive and returned to their parents. I remain fully committed to this pledge.’
These were President Buhari’s words earlier today, Wednesday 3 February 2016 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Our movement heartily commends the president for this gesture.
This open recommitment and reassurance is refreshing especially for the parents whose daughters were abducted in their school 660 days ago today.
These words would reignite hope, and the confidence that the president is concerned, and cares as much as he communicated to them 3 weeks ago.
We hope that the federal government would also immediately implement all the other commitments made during the 8 July 2015 meeting and 14 January meeting 3 weeks ago :
I. conducting a fresh investigation into the circumstance around the abduction, and failure to rescue our Chibok girls;
II. institute a feedback mechanism to keep the parents, communities and other interested stakeholders abreast of rescue efforts;
III. provide a citizens-government interface for information/intelligence sharing, and so forth.
We also see this as a best opportunity for the president to visit Chibok to connect with the traumatised parents and community, as well as some key locations in the northeast to boost the morale citizens and the troops at the frontlines.
For and on behalf of
HADIZA BALA USMAN
2 February 2016
It would be recalled that in April 2015, at the twilight of Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the then governor of Kano’s administration, Kano state government set up a special boarding primary school in Kano to take care of orphan, internally displaced children of the Boko Haram insurgency from Borno state. Our movement commended the outgoing governor and urged others to emulate his administration’s care and kindness.
During an inspection of the school’s facilities in last week, the present Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, not only expressed satisfaction at the school’s facilities, and how it is run, he added that the initial number of 100 pupils would be doubled. Not done, he publicly committed that ‘the state government would sponsor the education of the orphans up to university level.’
We heartily commend Kano state government for policy consistency on this issue. What would otherwise have been reported is that the facilities had deteriorated, and that the state was unable to continue caring for these innocent, vulnerable ones.
This model boarding primary school is run with support and donations from the private sector as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Of 3.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria according to the official records — the highest in Africa and third highest in the world — 68% are children. 45% of IDP children are orphans.
We have maintained that all children, (especially the vulnerable ones) are our children. It is our duty as a society therefore to prioritise their safety and welfare. Our missing 219 Chibok girls for instance are a symbol for the all unsafe, vulnerable, disadvantaged; especially women and children wherever they are.
We strongly commend Kano state government, and recommend that their empathy and kind-heartedness be emulated; not only by governments; everyone has a role to play.
For and on behalf of
HADIZA BALA USMAN
To be an active citizen is to ask questions of those to whom you ceded certain rights. For instance it is unlawful for citizens to bear arms because the Military and the Police are there to protect them. However, when there is a breach of this contract, there must be accountability.
On April 14, 2014, 276 girls were abducted from a school in Chibok. Nearly two years later, a small group of Nigerians are still demanding for the rescue of 219 girls that remain with Boko Haram. From Abuja to Lagos and a few other towns, the demand continues.
Conversely though, advocacy is a form of volunteerism that is not appreciated much in Nigeria. Many believe there is ulterior motive in dedicating TIME, TALENT and TREASURE to a cause. Others just conclude that you have to be jobless and a few shades of crazy to do so.
Therein lies the crux. Volunteers are most needed in Nigeria of today. Time is money, yet it is wasted, waiting, aimlessly. To volunteer is to give of what you have without expecting any returns. That is how Nationhood is attained.
It is a thankless job, accompanied by sniggers, name calling and insults. Those who would rather the status quo remained will throw spanners and stones at volunteers and advocates.
But volunteerism has worked in other climes, it can make a big difference here. The #ChibokGirls would have been forgotten but for the volunteers who daily stand for them. Who remembers Bunin Yadi? Aluo 4? Cynthia’s rape and murder and the countless senseless human orchestrated tragedies that have befallen the country without accountability?
Long before #Dasukigate a small group of Nigerians were saying things did not add up and had asked several questions about Military budgets. That is the job of all right thinking citizens of any nation. Do not be silent or indifferent in the face of evil, volunteer to do/say something worthy today.
It would be recalled that in our Wednesday 27 January 2016 release, we communicated that the suicide bomb attacks in Chibok that had some killed and others wounded, but said that the identities of the victims were yet to be ascertained.
Our sources in Chibok have relayed the names and identities of all the victims: 15 deaths (including that of soldier of the Nigerian army). Some died on the spot, others eventually; and 49 injured, some at critical stages.
Two of the victims of the attacks are cousins of Aishatu Musa, one our 219 missing Chibok girls. Both are daughters of Mutah Adamu Ntikawar. One died on the spot, the other is in a critical condition presently.
Below are the names and communities of the victims:
1. Peter Tusha (Kuburmbula)
2. Hajara Mutah (Pemi)
3. Mainta Fali Kulfa (Likama)
4. Awa Wantha (Kwada Bila Girma)
5. Athawa Kollo Yahi (Kwada Bila Girma)
6. Yankye Wantha (Kwada Bila Girma)
7. Garba Bulama (Likama)
8. Hamman Dabal (Bamzir)
9. Kuma Barka (Garu Line Mission)
10. Ali Abana (Likama)
11. Mallum Fali’ ka (Whuntaku)
12. Kollo Sule (Bwalakila)
13. Mohammed Sule (Bwalakila)
14. Ba. Galang Bulama (Whuntaku)
1. Abdullahi Musa Birma (Likama)
2. Ba Nkye Yaga Butu (Garu)
3. Falmata Tella –
4. Mohammed Ali –
5. Bulama Zaman –
6. Kuva Batah (Garu)
7. Yaga A. Smai (Garu)
8. Daniel Thumur (Likama)
9. Jummai Kalau (Whuntaku)
10. Mohammed M.C.
11. Dauda Garba (Garu)
12. Mohammed Bukar (Dambo’a)
13. Jacob Fali’ka (Whuntaku)
14. Habiba Usman (Kwada)
15. Dauda Musa (Garu)
16. Maji Dzakwa –
17. Hauwa Dauda Ali (Garu)
18. Zaki Wavi –
19. Yana Mutah (Pemi)
20. Ngiladar Fali (Whuntaku)
21. Margret Moses –
22. Alhaji Mohammed –
23. Abba Abaji –
24. Lydia Tella (Kautikari)
25. Bukar Akawa –
26. Kuma Woi –
27 . Dinnah Yakubu (Garu)
28. Yunana Madu (Shikarkir)
29. Ba Taru Abana (Garu)
30. Zara Mustapha (Whuntaku)
31. Pogu Kurdiya (Garu)
32. Modu M. Kauji (Garu)
33. Dibal Dunya (Mifa)
34. Alhaji K. (Likama)
35. Aji Mallum (Garu)
36. Lydia Philip –
37. Madu Maigana –
38. Yahaya Ibrahim –
39. Ba Fali Madu –
40. Abigaial Pogu –
41. Mustapha Maina –
42. Musa Dawa Dauda (Garu)
43. Kyeri Tella (Garu)
44. Kolo Goni (Likama)
45. Uwani Kachalla (Garu)
46. Saraya Daniel Mustapha (Whuntaku)
47. Raina Madu (Garu)
48. Bulama Wassa (Whuntaku)
49. Wadir Buba (Whuntaku)
It is important to note that whereas others have sent in their condolences and recommitted to partnering to tackle the insurgency, we are yet to see any statement by the Nigerian government on this matter.
27 January 2016
We have gotten news of fatal bomb blasts in from our contacts in Chibok earlier today, Wednesday 27 January 2016.
Today marked the reopening of a the market that had been closed down for a long while due to the security situation. Two suicide bombers detonated at the market, and another at a military checkpoint, killing eleven, and many more injured as reported by 12.20 pm. The third suicide bomber was tracked and shot down before detonating. He reports that they were five suicide bombers sent on the nefarious mission. It is reported that there is presently a curfew in Chibok in order to track them down.
This happened in a town already traumatised by the tragedy of the still missing 219 schoolgirls makes our movement very sorrowful.
We commiserate with the families of the victims, whose identity is yet to be established.
We commend the military/security forces for their proactive action. Such response is important in alleviating the trauma of a community who has its daughters abducted by terrorists for 653 days.
We are aware that the military has good presence in the town but we would like to encourage even more surveillance to prevent as much as possible any recurrence.
We urge them to keep up the good work, and make the most of these available leads in improving security of life and property, tackle the and end the insurgency.
Being the Text of the Statement Presented to Mr. President during
14 January 2016
Today is 640 days of the abduction of our Chibok girls. Exactly 21 months which means that in another three months it would be two years since our 219 Chibok girls were abducted and remain captives of terrorists without rescue by their government.
Mr President may wish to recall the meeting of 8 July , 2015 with representatives of the parents, community and our movement. At that meeting we demanded for speedy actions to rescue who at that time were spending 450 days in captivity. We also asked for the swift rescue of other victims of Boko Haram and made a number of demands and suggestions touching on the counterinsurgency efforts of the Federal Government. Mr President gave us very strong assurance that the Federal Government would take every decisive action necessary to rescue our Chibok girls as well as other affected citizens. Mr President’s pledge was consistent with the words of your inauguration speech of the 29th May, 2015 that “… we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.” Our expectation and the world at large was further bolstered when you declared December 31st, 2015 as the deadline for the military to defeat Boko Haram.
Mr President may also recall the commitment you made to implementing a number of measures concerning the welfare of the parents and the Chibok community.
Jointly with the parents and community, our Movement specifically demanded for a high level progress reporting mechanism from the Federal Government. When several weeks later , we saw no action on this particular demand, you may recall that we wrote a reminder letter of 3 August 2015. In that letter, we outlined all the outstanding measures for the girls, their parents and their community that had still not been implemented. That situation remains the same even today, Mr. President.
It is therefore with the deepest pain and disappointment that the parents, Chibok Community and our Movement are here again 6 months after our July 8 meeting to register our absolute dissatisfaction on the lack of progress. Our Chibok girls are neither rescued nor have the measures the Federal Government pledged to been instituted. Our disappointment was worsened recently when Mr President shocked the parents into a deeper throes of agony when you publicly gave the excuse “that there is no credible information about the girls’ whereabouts” as the reason our Chibok girls have not been rescued.
That “lack of credible intelligence” remark, Mr President, left the parents, the community, our movement, and the rest of the world was all the more shocked considering that the same Federal Government that made their rescue a key indicator of success and defeat of Boko Haram went ahead to declare victory on 31st December. How can we declare that our nation has won the war when our 219 daughters and other abducted victims are still not back?
The parents of our Chibok girls whom you successfully persuaded at our July 8 had following that meeting told our Movement that they had implicit trust in the words of Mr President that “everything will be done to rescue our daughters”. They specifically asked the Movement to give the administration the cooperation you had asked for during the meeting. We did so but refused to end our daily advocacy at the Unity Fountain which by today is DAY 625.
Mr President, it is extremely saddening that those same parents who had placed their implicit confidence in your July 8 promise to rescue their daughters are here today terribly traumatized, disconsolate and desperate for your reassurance and outline of convincing decisive action that would bring a positive closure to this historical tragedy.
There is no better way to convey the depth of the devastation of these parents than the fact that we today have the largest ever contingent of them who despite their meagre resources have paid their way to travel to Abuja in order to register their angst, disappointment demand for immediate rescue of their daughters by Mr President and the military.
We are compelled to ask the following questions, Mr President:
A. What does “lack of credible intelligence” mean in the light of diverse capabilities that Nigeria and the rest of the world can mobilize to “find credible intelligence”?
B. What concrete steps are being taken to find “credible intelligence”. With whom? By whom?
C. What timelines is the Federal Government working with?
D. When does the Federal Government want the parents to assume closure or is the rescue of our 219 Chibok girls on an open-ended timeline?
These are our demands, Mr President:
1. We want the Federal Government to share with the parents, community and our movement, a clear options approach of the rescue operation with timelines. This options approach and plan will enable the parents know when to determine closure on this tragedy.
2. We demand that the government should exhaust all the publicly offered leads and assistance on the whereabouts of our Chibok girls to achieve their rescue. The parents, community and our movement appreciate that the Federal Government is being guided by the failures of the past administration in being circumspect but it must not become a stumbling block to decisive actions for their rescue .
3. We outline four publicly available leads on the whereabouts and rescue of our Chibok girls that the Federal Government should provide update on:
A. The immediate past Chief of Defence Staff had said on May 26th 2014 that “the military knows where our girls are”.
B. The Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima publicly stated that he knew where our Chibok girls are held in an underground bunker.
C. A week or so ago, a retired Army Captain, and security expert spoke on Channels Television and declared that “our girls are alive and are somewhere in Sambisa forest where the military has not been able to access due to certain difficulties”.
D. A well known journalist , Mr. Ahmad Salkida has consistently publicly offered to provide credible proof about our girls’ whereabouts and help mediate in their release.
We insist that the Federal Government must maximally explore all these leads and routes for rescuing our 219 Chibok girls. There is a fierce “urgency of NOW” that must be reflected in the actions of Mr President and the Federal Government in rescuing our daughters of Nigeria who deserve the justice of freedom from terrorist captivity.
4. Finally Mr President, we again reiterate our recent letter to you requesting that you exercise your prerogative of mercy to pardon the soldiers sentenced for disobeying orders to fight terrorists unarmed; for the reason that as Mr President said earlier, they were not equipped. Sending them to fight without proper equipping was sending them on a suicide mission.
Thank you very much.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
14 January 2016
As earlier announced, our movement along with the parents and community of our missing 219 Chibok girls did a march on the 14th January 2016 to re-engage with the President as a follow-on engagement to our earlier engagement of 8th July 2014, and subsequent developments around the rescue and safe return of our missing 219 Chibok girls.
Typically, we march from Unity Fountain Abuja, our usual meeting grounds to the venues of our engagements. However, during our previous engagement with the President on 8th July 2015, the State House, provided buses to convey us from the State House Pilot Gate to the meeting venue as it is breach of state protocol to stage a march within the State House. However, today those buses were unavailable and we therefore had to wait. Subsequently, they were provided, we were conveyed to the meeting venue, and were seated by 10.30 am at the State House Banquet Hall for the meeting.
A Federal Government team comprising the Ministers of Women Affairs and Social Development, and Defence, the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS),and the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Public Affairs) arrived and informed us that they had been delegated to meet with us; the parents, community, and our movement. We were informed that the President was himself absent, as he was in a meeting with the visiting President of Benin Republic.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development who was introduced as the leader of the delegation commenced the meeting, and began by providing updates of the government’s plans through her ministry to provide welfare support and progress reports to the parents. When she called on the leaders of our movement to respond to her opening remarks and make our presentation, we respectfully remarked that we would rather wait for the President no matter how long it took. We averred that he had given us a strong pledge on the rescue of our Chibok girls when we met with him on 8 July 2015. However, having heard the progress report as delivered during the media chat of 30 December 2015 which has caused deep anguish, we felt was better to re-engage with him in the spirit of his commitment to upholding citizens’ demands for accountability as he clearly stated during our 8th July 2015 meeting.
The Chairman of the Chibok community responded similarly conveying the strong desire of the Chibok parents to hear directly from Mr President as the father of the nation.
In her reaction, the head of the State delegation advised the parents not to be “sentimental” about this matter, but to be “understanding with the Federal Government.”
The Minister of Defence, the NSA and CDS respectively apologised to the parents for the inconveniences suffered during their trip to Abuja for this meeting, and craved their indulgence and understanding. They also spoke about their personal empathy as parents, and that the Federal Government was doing its all to rescue our girls, bring them back safely, and end the insurgency.
A few parents were called upon by the community to express the reasons they were insistent on meeting with the President. Thereafter, the the group (i.e. the parents, the Chibok community and our movement) was informed that Mr President would be joining the meeting as requested after his meeting with the visiting President Benin Republic; after which the meeting went into recess awaiting the arrival of the President.
The President arrived in the company of the Federal Government delegation and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), and we were informed that the meeting would be very brief.
We made our presentation (kindly see: http://www.bringbackourgirls.ng/bringbackourgirls-re-engagement-with-mr-president/). Speaking on behalf of the Chibok parents, 2 fathers and a mother of our missing 219 Chibok expressed their pain and frustrations at the lingering state of the non-rescue of their daughters, but at the same time optimism and hope. They also commended the military and asked them to do whatever they can to rescue their daughters. A father called for a reopening of the investigations into the circumstances and events around the abduction of their daughters as they are unsatisfied with the last presidential fact-finding committee’s work. The other called for updates to them by the Federal Government. That the complete silence was traumatising. The mother cried “…I want my baby back in whatever shape or form she may be.”
The President in his brief remarks said the abduction happened before his government, and despite the condition of the country he inherited, his government has accomplished a lot towards ending the insurgency in the North-east region. Some achievements outlined by Mr President include changing the Service Chiefs and NSA, and commencement of restructuring of the military and security system, and the decimation of Boko Haram which he said held territories in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, but no longer do so. He continued by expressing displeasure that the group did not commend his administration for all that he has accomplished. He then reiterated his message of 30th December 2015 that he had no “credible intelligence” about our Chibok girls.
In reassuring the group however, he said, “I assure you that I go to bed and wake up every day with the Chibok girls on my mind”, promising that he would continue to do his best in rescuing our Chibok girls.
He then thanked all for coming and departed, leaving the Federal Government delegation behind to continue with the meeting.
Specific Outcomes of Our 14th January 2016 Re-engagement with Mr President
1. The NSA’s commitment to leading the institutionalising of a structured feedback mechanism that would keep the parents, community, and our movement updated on progress being made with the Federal Government rescue operation.
NOTE: It may be recalled that this was one of our specific demands during the 8th July 2015 engagement with Mr President.
2. A proposal related to the rescue of our Chibok girls already approved by Mr President, to be unveiled shortly.
We were subsequently informed that a new investigation would be launched by the Federal Government into the abduction of our Chibok girls.
NOTE: It would be recalled that our movement made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to access the reports of the Presidential Fact-finding Committees on Crisis in the Northeast, and the Abduction of the Chibok Girls.
Also, that a parent requested for same at today’s re-engagement with the President.
3. The NSA pledged to work more closely with the parents, community, and our movement to encourage the critical security-civic collaboration and information sharing that could help the intelligence-gathering effort of the Federal Government.
As a movement we wish to unequivocally state that today’s meeting was markedly different from the last one of 8 July 2015 in many ways. At the last meeting, the manner in which the President took ownership of the tragedy even though inherited, the strong pledge that he made to the parents, community, and our movement to exhaust every option for our Chibok girls’ rescue, the obvious manner which his tone and message connected with the grieving parent, and his sense of urgency to bring positive closure resonated with our group. Today’s meeting however was different, and the real victims are the 108 parents who set out seeking a boost to their failing hope after 640 days of agonising for their 219 missing daughters.
At the last engagement of 8th July2015 (please see http://www.bringbackourgirls.ng/author/bringbackourgirls/page/3/) he impressed everyone by the apt attention he paid to each speaker, diligently took notes and meticulously responded to each subject that was raised. He had also commended our movement for holding government accountability, for our steadfastness in standing on the grounds of shared humanity to advocate for the Chibok girls, other victims of the insurgency, and the Northeast in general. Not so this time.
We consider it a lost opportunity for the President to revive the plunging optimism of the parents, community, our movement, and all others that have held out hope for our Chibok girls’ rescue.
We want to declare with utmost commitment the pledge we made to the parents of our Chibok girls when we first marched to draw attention to their daughters’ abduction 625 days ago on 30th April 2014, that our movement will remain non-retreating in our advocacy for their rescue.
The outcome of today’s meeting with Mr President only offers us the opportunity to reassess various ways that our advocacy can ensure that tangible results are generated by the Federal Government resulting in the speedy rescue and safe return of our Chibok girls.
Meanwhile, we would wish to offer an advice to Mr President with regard to the gulf that revealed in today’s meeting, and which left the parents pained. That it is time for Mr President to visit the parents and community at home in Chibok to emotionally recharge their hope and confidence in his avowed commitment. We believe that the President still has the necessary goodwill arising from his well-acknowledged commitment to rescuing our girls as repeatedly stated starting from his inaugural speech of 29th May 2015.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
12 January 2016
Towards our earlier announced march together with the parents of our abducted Chibok girls and the Chibok community to re-engage with the president on the matter of their rescue this Thursday 14 January, a delegation of parents left Chibok this morning Tuesday 12 January for a 2-day journey to Abuja. Despite their meagre income, the over 120 parents were determined and paid the bus fare from Chibok to enable them to partake in the march to re-engage with the president after the first meeting of 8 July 2015.
At about 8 am, we received information that they had been barred from proceeding by soldiers. We wondered if this was perhaps a random solitary act of some overzealous checkpoint leader or an action directed from the military high-command. Not wanting to speculate and escalate without establishing the facts behind the episode, we reached out to the administration through Pastor Tunde Bakare — a well-respected citizen and co-advocate of the cause of our Chibok girls.
We were subsequently informed the buses carrying our Chibok girls’ parents had been allowed to proceed on the journey to Abuja. However, only this evening, we were again informed that the checkpoint officers in Askira had allowed only 4 of the bus load of parents and held back 3 but we can factually confirm that 5 buses in all were held back — 2 in Chibok and 3 in Askira.
Tonight, the top echelon of the military and security team reached out apologising for the uncalled for and regrettable incident. Reasons adduced were that the fragile security context could have exposed such a large contingent of the parents to risks. Whilst we appreciate the legitimate safety concerns, we are convinced however that it could have been better handled with dignified treatment of parents who have been heartbroken over the last 638 days of their daughters’ captivity.
We therefore demanded :
I. a public apology to parent for this avoidable and unfortunate episode, and
II. a public commitment that the military will transport them out to Abuja tomorrow to enable them lead the march to meet with the president on Thursday.
The military has accepted and confirmed to us that it will fully handle the movement of the remaining remaining parents to Abuja tomorrow Wednesday 13 January. The parents are all set to re-embark on their botched journey while we await the arrival of the set that successfully left Chibok earlier today for Abuja.
We now await the public apology to the parents and the Chibok community.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
8 January 2016
Next week Friday, 15 January is the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, an annual celebration to honour our heroes of the Nigeria military both serving and retired, dead or alive.
Our movement appreciates and celebrates our gallant troops for the invaluable sacrifices they made and continually make, toiling day and night to keep us all safe, and enhance our dignity as a nation.
This year’s theme is ‘Motivating the Nigerian Armed Forces for Effective Service Delivery’.
In this week leading to the remembrance/appreciation day, we call on as many as can to purchase and proudly wear the Armed Forces Remembrance emblem, to use the hashtag #WeCelebrateOurTroops, and to reach out to our men and women in uniform, as well as veterans and appreciate them.
We have written to the President, C-in-C asking him to exercise his prerogative of mercy in granting pardon to all soldiers who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced even if their sanctions were only recently reduced. It would be a gross miscarriage of justice for any of those who from recent revelations were not at all equipped with arms to fight the terrorists to be sentenced to jail no matter how short the period.
Our request is further strengthened by the fact that the President had himself admitted in an interview on 24 December 2015 that “monies meant to equip our military and cater to their welfare were diverted and shared by wicked men, which led to some of our troops disobeying orders”.
We therefore call on all Nigerians to join us in appealing to the president to kindly exercise his prerogative of mercy and grant these ones a presidential pardon and return them to service with the assurance that this exceptional action will in no way diminish longstanding military doctrine and traditions of absolute discipline and obedience to superior order.
We note that unfortunately, many families of our heroes who paid the supreme price are not informed in a dignified of their death. Sometimes they learn of such tragic news in the most callous of ways like for example on social media or through the rumour mill. This in our opinion is not the honorable way our fallen heroes who put their lives on the line to keep us all safe should be treated. We therefore call on the military to authourities to reach out to all such affected families and accord the full honors to their lost ones as is the standard military practice. We also urge the military to publish the names of all our fallen heroes who died in the line of duty, especially fighting the insurgency. They must not be allowed to remain anonymous. We all should be allowed the consolation of mourning their passage and given the opportunity to celebrate their sacrifice for our nation.
Another way of honouring, celebrating, and motivating our troops is to ensure that families of our fallen troops are treated with compassion and dignity even after their loved ones have been buried. It means that all the benefits and support that are due them must be provided promptly. We ask that the delays and onerous processes that throw bereaved families into more sorrow should cease forthwith.
We dare to posit that it is callous to owe salaries to soldiers at the battlefront because nothing can be more demotivating. We therefore call on the military authorities to expedite actions in paying up the full arrears of such salaries and design a better system for promptness going forward.
While we celebrate our soldiers, we also wish to use the occasion to convey our concerns about recent allegations against the military of extra-judicial murder of citizens in different circumstances and various parts of the country for breach of peace. We are perturbed that our military’s manner of communication continues to raise suspicion thereby eroding the trust and credibility that citizens need in order to be partners in restoring order, peace and stability. We therefore advise the leadership of our armed forces to take urgent steps to rebuild public confidence, starting with transparent and accurate public communication of its recent activities in the northeast, Zaria and Onitsha.
As has been our culture of demonstrating our appreciation and support of our troops and celebrating their heroism, we shall be holding a special sit-out on 15 January 2016 (the next day after our march to re-engage with the president on 14 January) at Unity Fountain Abuja as from 4.45 pm, followed by a candlelight vigil in their honour, for the fallen and the living, both in and out of service. We specially invite members of the armed forces, their families, and everyone who appreciates their sacrifice to join us on this day. We also urge everyone wherever you may be to carry out any form of activity to in honour of these heroes.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN
AFTER 627 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY “LACK OF CREDIBLE INTELLIGENCE” BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS AN UNFAIR EXCUSE FOR NOT RESCUING OUR 219 CHIBOK GIRLS! (We Demand Their Immediate Rescue!)
1 January 2016
It was 612 days ago on 30 April 2014, that our citizens movement emerged, compelled by humane considerations to demand swift rescue action for the schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok who were abducted at midnight of April14, 2014 . We never imagined that our advocacy would be protracted since we expected the Federal Government to pursue every option possible to rescue the 219 innocent children. Sadly, this was not to be and here we are on the second New Year and 627 days since their abduction.
Contextualizing Development on the Rescue Activities for Our #ChibokGirls
It would be recalled that on 25 May 2015, at the end of the the previous administration and dawn of a new one, we publicly announced that within 1 week of the inauguration of of the new president, we shall seek a public engagement to receive an update on the new administration’s plans to rescue our 219 abducted Chibok girls. We demanded from the incoming administration urgent, focused, sustained and effective actions designed for success in this endeavour.
We noted that the incoming president had on numerous occasions declared tackling the insecurity especially in Northeast Nigeria as one of his topmost priorities on assumption of office. He also had called the tragedy of the unjust captivity of our Chibok girls, and the manner the Nigerian military prosecuted the counterinsurgency effort as ‘an embarrassment'; and rightly so. He promised to make addressing these concerns his administration’s priority in order for Nigeria to have a pride of place among the comity of nations. We welcomed this serious ownership and acceptance of responsibility to resolve end this monumental tragedy as the serious disposition we demanded on our first day of our advocacy on April 30, 2014.
We also expressed that we hope that our movement’s determination to hold anyone who is the president of Nigeria, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces accountable for the duty they owe the country will be considered by the incoming administration as part of our growing democratic culture.
On 29 May, during the president’s inaugural speech he declared routing the terrorists as a topmost priority, and specifically said ‘But we cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.’
After the inauguration we did write, and secured a meeting with the president. Our movement, as well as our girls’ parents, and the Chibok community were warmly received by the president and high-level officials of the federal government, including the vice president, the then national security adviser (NSA) all the service chiefs, etc.
Having made our presentations, he conveyed his concurrence on the urgency of the cause, and therefore the importance for immediate action to salvage an initially poorly managed rescue agenda, which he blamed the previous administration of bungling.
In their 16 July 2014 edition, Foreign Policy magazine gave their third party assessment of the meeting thus:
‘On July 8, Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari did something his predecessor considered unthinkable: he sat down with the #BringBackOurGirls activists… The meeting was more than an acknowledgment of what the #BringBackOurGirls campaign stood for when it was founded; it was an acknowledgment of what it had become… #BringBackOurGirls has proven itself to be a grassroots movement …that has increasingly focused on issues that underlie the kidnapping: a right to security, to education, and protection from terrorists, and calling for an end to the corruption and bad governance that experts have found goes hand-in-hand with protracted violent conflict.’
Specific demands we made at the meeting included implementation a system for providing feedback on the rescue effort, especially for the distraught parents, release of investigative committee reports, etc. (Please find details on our http://www.bringbackourgirls.ng/statements/page/2/).
On 13 August, the president gave the newly appointed service chiefs a 3-month deadline to defeat the terrorists. Going by what he defined defeating the terrorists to entail in his inaugural speech, we were enthused, and full of optimism.
On 8 September, he said in a BBC interview about our girls that, ‘They [Boko Haram] have scattered them, and are being guarded at dispersed locations… Both ground and air security personnel in Sambisa forest could spot where the girls are …’
On 29 September, at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly he said, ‘…one of our major aims is to rescue the Chibok girls alive and unharmed. We are working round the clock to ensure their safety and eventual reunion with their families. Chibok girls are constantly on our minds and in our plans.’
On 14 October, the president reassured that ‘Structured attacks by the insurgents have reduced and by the end of the year, we should see the final routing of Boko Haram terrorists as a fighting force.’ (Please recall the benchmark for routing the terrorists in his inaugural speech of 29 May).
Some time in November, we made representation to the vice president about the points the federal government had committed to at our 8 July meeting. And again a few days later when the Chibok parents cried out about being completely in the dark and having a feeling of being abandoned having had no feedback from the government.
Matters Arising from the December 31st Deadline of the Federal Government and the Presidential Chat
It was utterly shocking when the president declared in a BBC interview on 24 December that the terrorists had being ‘technically defeated’ without referencing the rescue of our Chibok girls whom he had set as the benchmark for measuring such success. We however waited for the December deadline to elapse.
During the December 30th media chat, our President stated that the federal government wants all our girls intact adding that ‘If a credible leadership of Boko Haram is ready for negotiation without any condition we are ready to listen to them.’ He further stated that the federal government has no credible intelligence on where our girls are.
We are extremely disappointed that seven months after his strong promise at inauguration and six months after his pledge to the parents, Chibok community and our Movement that he would rescue the 219 daughters of Nigeria, his statement was lacking in urgency and assurance of strategy for result. Further, that the President gave the impression of a reactive approach of “waiting for credible Boko Haram leadership” to tell us whether our girls are alive or not, falls disappointingly short of the proactive feedback we expected.
Our Movement therefore refuses to accept that lack of “credible intelligence on our girls’ whereabouts” as a tenable reason for the evident lack of progress in rescuing our ChibokGirls for at least 4 reasons:
1. On 26 May 2014, no less an authourity than the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Marshal Alex Badeh, then Nigeria’s military chief publicly declared that they know precisely where were. This cannot be a statement to be taken lightly.
However, assuming without conceding that the CDS lied, what consequence has he gotten for such a gross offence? None.
2. On 19 May 2015, Kashim Shettima, the Borno governor stated where our girls most likely were held. To what extent has this lead been pursued? It must be noted that Governor Shettima’s updates on the status of Boko Haram and their activities have often turned out to be accurate
3. Mr President’s public declaration on 8 September 2015, and his reiteration at his UN General Assembly address on 29 September as earlier cited could not have been a figment of some imagination, but based on credible intelligence available to him at the time.
4. “POSSIBLE CREDIBLE LEAD “
Yesterday, 31 December, 2015 a journalist staked his reputation by boldly declaring that:
I. Our Chibok girls are alive
II. They widely believed to be within Nigeria’s borders
III. The terrorists are willing to put our girls on the phone with their parents, if the president so wishes
IV. He can provide video evidence of all Boko Haram captives any day the president wishes, even if today
Even worse, that the President failed to offer any persuasive on-going or future urgent strategy for tackling the excuse of “lack of credible evidence” painfully agitates our minds and raised the following questions:
A. What precisely is being done to enhance intelligence gathering?
B. What steps are being taken to acquire credible intelligence?
C. What precisely is being done, and by whom? What timelines are we working with?
D. Is it possible to find closure on this issue, or is the matter of our Chibok girls now open-ended?
The Chibok Community encompassing parents and families of #ChibokGirls and known as KADA makes a number of specific demands which concur with our #BringBackOurGirls movement’s position as well:
1. The federal government should make public forthwith the General Sabo fact-finding committee report on the abduction of our Chibok girls to finally put to rest the ‘doubts’ by naysayers about the unfortunate incidence of 14 April 2014.
2. The federal government should investigate all statements preciously made by state actors and/or high-ranking military officers that ‘we know where the Chibok girls are’, with the view to getting at the bottom of the matter on our girls’ whereabouts.
3. The federal government should immediately set up a search and rescue team to find our Chibok girls.
4. KADA strongly demands that President Muhammadu Buhari gives the rescue of our abducted Chibok girls the priority attention it deserves; as Boko Haram cannot be said to have been defeated (technically or otherwise) without the safe return of our abducted daughters.
We especially noted with great dismay that the issue of rescue of our Chibok girls and other citizens in terrorist captivity did not feature in the president’s New Year address to the nation today. The implication of such a deliberate omission is not lost on us.
Therefore we, #BringBackOurGirls movement, families of our Chibok girls, the Chibok community, and all sympathisers to the cause of these innocent schoolgirls continuously unjustly treated will be marching to re-engage with the president in 2 weeks, on Thursday 14 January 2016 at the State House. This date will be exactly 21 months since their abduction, and 3 months short of 2 full years in captivity.
We shall meet at Unity Fountain as from 8.30 am that day to proceed on the march. We have already despatched a letter to the president, duly acknowledged by State House officials.
We cannot end this address without thanking our friends in the media who have refused to move on to other issues that draw attention but have stayed steadfast to this cause. We appreciate you.
Also, to our gallant troops at the frontlines who are sacrificing day and night to vanquish the terrorists and keep all of us safe. We appreciate you. Your efforts would never be in vain. Same goes for the Civilian JTF, the police and other security agencies.
This 612-day advocacy has been a tortuous and harrowing experience for us, but compared to our girls and their families who do not have a choice than living with this pain and inhumanity, we do. Tormenting, and tasking as this experience is for us, we have decided that we will not give up. We will stay strong, and do right by our girls, and ensure that they are rescued sooner than later and brought home to their families. We have often said that our Chibok girls are the symbol for all the abducted, oppressed, repressed, abused, violated, disadvantaged, hurting people not only in Nigeria but around the world. Human societies are regarded by how they treat their weakest and most vulnerable ones. We cannot let humanity to continually be debased without doing anything.
We will continue to stand in empathy with their families and community sharing the sorrow and pain, while continually demanding until our girls are back and alive!
Thank you, and Happy New Year!
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
Hadiza Bala Usman
29 December 2015
Since 30 April 2014, the #BringBackOurGirls movement has been demanding for accountability and transparency in governance; the failure of which led to the abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls, none rescued, with 219 missing till date 624 days later.
The thrust of our engagement with the AGF is to raise the questions that bother us, to share suggestions and solutions on how he can use his good offices as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer to bring about a Justice Sector reform to ensure effective and efficient delivery of social and substantive justice for all. To institutionalise and enforce accountability and transparency in governance, etc.
Our conviction is that ours is a nation where there is little or no consequence for actions (or inactions). There is hardly any deterrence for wrong behaviour. And unless this is in place, we can never have a decent and well-ordered society. Good governance can never be attained. Therefore the importance of this meeting.
1. There is the report of the Presidential Fact-Finding Committee on the Abduction of the Chibok Schoolgirls. We have also been calling for an in-depth inquiry into the abduction and failure to rescue them.
How do we ensure the prosecution of those complicit or negligent in the abduction of our Chibok girls, and the failure to rescue them timely?
2. In light of the revelations of how monies meant to prosecute the war on terror was shared, will it be fair to enter into plea bargain arrangements and allow the offenders go scot-free to enjoy what we (our movement) calls ‘blood money’?
b. Can those who partook in the sharing of this blood money, thereby actually compromised the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our fatherland be charged with more serious crimes like treason, instead of just financial crimes?
c. Under financial crimes, can they be charged under more stringent laws like the EFCC and Money Laundering Acts, rather than the Penal Code as it has been reported in the media?
d. We suggest that all the companies Col Dasuki, the ex-NSA shared money through for instance, be investigated. If for example their taxes aren’t up to date, they and their directors should be gone after.
For example, mafia leaders are often nailed in the US for tax evasion when charges of their criminal activities can’t be proven.
e. We see efforts at reducing the number of charges in corruption cases, which is commendable. We are of the opinion that it is better to bring a few meaningful charges than so many which end up not achieving much.
3. On 24 December, Mr President confirmed on a BBC Hausa Service interview that our troops were sent to the war front without arms and ammunition, leading to some disobeying orders.
Although we concede that refusal to fight is a exacts capital punishment in military law, the circumstances is this matter are peculiar as admitted by the president. We therefore appeal that you use your good offices to ensure that all charges against all those standing trial are dropped and that they are returned to service.
b. It is ironic that those who misappropriated the funds leading them to commit the offences they are accused of IF convicted under the present charges will get a maximum of 7 years. It isn’t fair that our patriotic, gallant troops be made to spend even a day for refusing to commit suicide fighting with their bare hands, and on empty stomachs.
4. James Ibori was acquitted in Nigerian courts, but declared himself guilty in a UK court and is presently serving a jail term.
What institutional and human weaknesses allow for foreign jurisdictions to convict people set free by our own courts.
What can be done to reverse this ugly status quo?
b. In the UK for instance, clever lawyers who try to manipulate the system to waste time and/or to subvert the cause of justice are punished.
How can we have such a culture in place such that clever senior advocates et al can be punished/jailed for manipulating the system?
5. Nigeria is the only country as far as we know where interlocutory appeals are taken in criminal matters thereby allowing otherwise straightforward cases drag on sometimes for 10 years or more.
How can this obvious aberration be corrected?
b. A Supreme Court judgment contradicted the Administration of Justice Act 2015, which seeks to correct this defect.
How can you use your good offices to persuade the Supreme Court to reverse its judgement to give full effect to this law?
6. Justice in Nigeria is skewed against the poor. The poor steal vegetables to eat and are given long jail terms. The rich steal billions of naira depriving thousands of their livelihood and are asked to pay an infinitesimal percentage of what they stole and go free.
The likes of Dasuki are speedily granted bail, while the poor are kept languishing for years in detention awaiting trial.
In addition to possibly carrying out massive prison decongestion across the nation, what can be done to ensure that all are seen to be equal before the law, as it ought to be?
7. Can a system be worked with other law enforcement agencies especially such that all cases are treated speedily to avoid keeping suspects on awaiting trial for years?
A suggestion would be to have officers from the Director of Public Prosecutions’ offices deployed to every Divisional Police Headquarters (like District Attorneys in the US) who have the authority over criminal cases in the jurisdiction, and to be the human rights watch, ensuring that all accused persons are treated humanely and with dignity.
8. The Chief Justice of Nigeria recently accused state prosecutors of doing shoddy jobs in otherwise very good cases, which ties the hands of the courts to dispense justice as they should.
How can you use your good offices to ensure that state prosecutors do diligent jobs such that the offenders are always punished to the full extent of the law?
Can state prosecutors who bungle cases be punished?
9. Some previous AGFs used their exalted offices to facilitate unethical if not illegal transactions. The Malabu scandal, the acquittal of Ibori, etc.
The civil servants who worked under these AGFs are the very same ones. What can the AGF do to change the status quo, and professionalise the ministry such that such abuses of office may never happen again?
10. We consider it gross miscarriage of justice and rewarding evil when people found guilty of electoral malpractice are not punished/jailed, but allowed to not only go scot-free but to also re-contest.
How can electoral offences be punishable like any other crimes?
11. In all the above, what role can citizens play?
Thank you very much.