In the last 24 hours, the #BringBackOurGirls Abuja family has observed with consternation the escalation of the pattern of the campaign of calumny by Government officials on our Citizens movement advocating for the rescue of the 219 school girls of abducted from Chibok Girls Secondary School, 93 days ago.
The latest in this trend is emanating from the visit facilitated for the 11 parents and five escaped girls who were visiting Abuja to interact with girl-child education advocate Malala Yousafzai.
During the public speech by Ms. Malala she declared that she had received a promise by President Jonathan to meet with the 11 parents and five girls. The movement was not aware and neither was it part of the discussion of the said visit to our President.
However, at the BBOG daily sit out, our movement was informed by the Chairman, Abuja Chibok community of the outcome of a meeting held with officials of the Presidency in Malala’s suite (immediately after her speech). He conveyed that they were informed at that meeting of a the scheduling of the visit to the President for the eleven parents and five girls at 4.00pm on Tuesday 15th July 2014.
Although some members of the movement were surprised at the sudden invitation to meet with the President, our leadership concluded that session by emphasizing that it was the absolute right of the Chibok community to decide on the matter. It is instructive to note that majority of those at the Unity Fountain on that day were visiting from the Chibok community and were mostly the ones who vehemently expressed dismay at the information from the Chairman. He then clarified on the manner the invitation was conveyed to him and the parents at that meeting and reassured his community that he would schedule an emergency meeting to discuss the matter further.
On Tuesday 15th July 2014, the leadership of our movement were invited to a meeting by the Chibok Chairman and the leadership of their development association with the eleven parents in attendance. At the meeting they conveyed to us their unanimous decision to request for a rescheduling of the Malala facilitated meeting with the President. They further informed us of their intention to reach out to the Malala team and officials of the Presidency to request for an expanded meeting within a sufficient time frame for necessary planning with the rest of their community in Chibok.
We want to repeat for the avoidance of doubt that we are not responsbile for the cancellation of the meeting with the President by the 11 Parents and 5 escaped girls from Chibok as some Government officials have insinuated.
As a movement, we wish to seize this opportunity to express our gratitude to Malala who helped amplify the advocacy for concerted efforts towards the rescue of our girls.
Meanwhile, it is pertinent to firmly state that since the inception of our movement in April 2014, we have remained steadfast and adopted all means and channels of civil engagement in the advocacy of our singular issue, which is #BringBackOurGirls NOW and ALIVE.
Hadiza Bala Usman & Obiageli Ezekwesili