Police yesterday barred the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) campaigners from entering Aso Villa, Abuja. The group had stormed the presidential villa in the first day of its planned 14-day action to protest the inability of the Federal Government to rescue the over 200 schoolgirls abducted in April 2014 from Chibok, Borno State.
Former education minister and leader of the group, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, engaged a police officer who said he had orders not to allow the group gain access to the Villa. She said it was not right for the group to be denied access to see the President because they had followed all protocols.
The group further said the comment credited to Sidiq Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff, saying the video clip recently released by Boko Haram was “technically deficient” shows government’s lack of transparency and truth in its fight against insurgency.
Meanwhile, Chibok indigenes resident in Abuja and members of the BBOG said yesterday they regretted voting for President Muhammadu Buhari last year. They expressed their regrets in Abuja at a protest rally over the inability of the government to rescue the over 200 schoolgirls. They made six demands to the Federal Government.
The terrorist group had last week released a video of the girls who are still alive and said they were willing to trade the girls in exchange for their members in detention.One of the girls, Maida Yakubu, who also spoke in the video asked their parents to beg the government to accede to the demand of Boko Haram so that they would be released.
Speaking during the protest yesterday, Chairman of the Chibok community, Hosea Tsambido, said his members and BBOG voted massively for Buhari as against his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, who they voted for in 2011.
“They told us that our girls seen in the latest video was merely an arrangement,” Mr. Tsambido said. “No one has spoken to the family of any of the Chibok girls since the last video was released by the terrorists. We regret our votes. We regret it.
“We were promised that the President would visit Sambisa after becoming president. We were also told that within two weeks, our girls would be rescued. “But over one year now, there is no tangible statement about our girls. The Presidency has stated instead that it is confused.”
The BBOG group said it was embarking on a fresh 14-day campaign to re-energize the campaign. The protesters were heading for the Presidential Villa to speak with Buhari as they usually do during their protests. They were however, stopped by security personnel at the entrance of the Three Arms Zone.
The group said the present administration has run out of excuses regarding the return of the Chibok girls. “No more excuses,” they chanted. A pro-Buhari group, the Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG), had appealed to the “#BringBackOurGirls” (BBOG) to shelve yesterday’s protest.
The group, in a statement by one of its members, Muhammad Labbo, said it was necessary to avoid complications and anything capable of undermining efforts of the government to rescue the girls unharmed. Mr. Labbo noted that playing politics with the Chibok schoolgirls was unhelpful and embarrassing to the government and counterproductive to the silent efforts of the military to rescue them.
He said the government would take serious exception to the mobilisation of the parents of the kidnapped girls to score political advantage or exploiting the tragedy to play to the gallery.