Wednesday, January 13, 2016 9:55 am
Nigerian soldiers have stopped about 120 parents of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls from attending a planned march to Aso Villa on Thursday.
The protest organised by the #Bringbackourgirls movement is aimed at re-engaging President Muhammadu Buhari over his campaign promise to free the abducted school girls. The campaigners first met President Buhari on 8 July, 2015.
Boko Haram gunmen abducted the girls from their school 638 days ago.
Spokesman of the BBOG said today that a delegation of the girls parents left Chibok on Tuesday for the two-day journey to Abuja to partake in the march but were stopped by soldiers at a checkpoint.
“At about 8 am, (Tuesday)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,(Tuesday) 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 :
* 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 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. “