Members of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign rallied in front of the presidential villa in Abuja on Thursday demanding that the government improve its efforts to rescue the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped from Borno State by Boko Haram in 2014.
The demonstration began at around 8:30 AM at the Unity Fountain in Abuja according to participants.
On Monday, #BringBackOurGirls protesters attempted to enter the presidential villa but were stopped by police officers.
In a press release issued by the group, the campaigners lamented the poor state of the Nigerian military tasked with rescuing the girls, saying that they need to be provided with better equipment and basic needs in order to operate to their full capacity. The group also reiterated its earlier request to establish a Special Envoy to be deployed to the North East in order to alleviate malnutrition in the area.
The statement also pointed out former Head of State Yakubu Gowon’s contention that the government lacks a coherent operation to rescue the girls.
The group concluded its statement by reiterating its demands to the government:
“That Mr. President should swiftly make a firm decision for their immediate rescue based on the three available options.
1. Military operation
2. Negotiation with the terrorists
3. Combination of 1 and 2.
“Mr. President must assess the wealth of information and state resources available to pursue a lowest risk option of these three.
“That Mr. President addresses Nigerians on his rescue plan and timelines of our #ChibokGirls.
“That Mr. President immediately constitutes a #ChibokGirls Rescue Operation Monitoring Team made up of representatives of Federal Government, parents of #ChibokGirls, KADA (the Chibok community), and #BringBackOurGirls. This multi-stakeholders platform should act as a transparent mechanism for feedback on evidence of Mr. President’s sustained action towards bringing back OUR #ChibokGirls.
“Mr. President should immediately preside over National Emergency in the North East Conference to articulate a cohesive response plan to the Humanitarian Crisis and designate a 'Special Envoy' responsible for the inter-agency collaborative work required, as well as mobilize the private sector, Nigerian public, and the international community.
“That Mr. President directs the Attorney-General and EFCC to set up Special Desk with the responsibility for fast-tracking the trials of the arms procurement fund and providing regular updates. We reject any suspension or termination of any of the trials without reaching a legal conclusion.
“That the Chief Justice of Nigeria prioritises the trials of all counter-insurgency related corruption cases. Cases should be placed on fast-track with no long adjournments.
“Mr. President must NOW exercise firm and dedicated leadership on rescuing OUR #ChibokGirls just as he would do, were the girls his own daughters.”
The group warned the president that it would return to march on the villa after 72 hours if no actions towards achieving these goals are taken.