Chris Steven, Abuja
Heavily armed police men and women formed human barricade on Sunday and blocked the entrance to the Presidential Villa along Shehu Shagari road opposite the Head of Service complex, Three Arms zone to prevent members of the BringBackOurGirls(BBOG) movement from marching to the seat of power.
The march by BBOG was organised to mark the 1000 days of abduction of the 219 Chibok Secondary School girls by the Boko Haram terrorists in April 24, 2014.
The Police stationed two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) along the Shehu Shagari road and diverted traffic from going through to Louis Edet Police Headquarters road as part of measure to curtail.
The protesters who were led by a former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili took off from the Unity Fountain, venue of their daily sit out held pictures of the abducted girls and were escorted by armed police men.
They were however stopped by a combined team of anti riot police men and women led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Abiodun Alamutu who told them that the Presidential Villa is a restricted area which they cannot be allowed into noting that yesterday was also not a working day which no one was in the office.
While explaining to the BBOG members who were not as many as was in previous marches, ACP Alamutu said the Police would help to facilitate a meeting with the Presidency since a formal letter was earlier written to the Villa.
” Your concerns about the girls is everyone’s concern, but Villa is a restricted area for now. Give us till tomorrow and let’s see how we can facilitate the meeting” he said
But while responding, Dr. Ezekwesili said that the letter written to the Presidency was not to see the President or any of his cabinet members but to inform the authorities of the planned citizens’ movement being organised to mark the 1000 days of abduction of the Chibok girls.
She lamented that the continued captivity of the girls after 1000 days remains a monumental failure of the two administrations in whose lives their abduction took place and rescue efforts were dragging .
Reading the movement’s message, Co-convener of BBOG, Aisha Yesufu, lamented that the Buhari administration’s response to issues about the Chibok girls is representative of its handling of other issues – insecurity, welfare of internally displaced persons, military welfare, corruption and poor governance.
“As with the Jonathan administration, the Buhari administration’s response to issues about the Chibok girls is representative of its handling of other issues – insecurity, welfare of internally displaced persons, military welfare, corruption and poor governance.
Painfully, #Day1000 of their tragic abduction is here and there has been no status report provided by the Federal Government. As such, we are constrained to resume our various activities to mark this tragic milestone, expecting Mr President to regard this #Day1000 milestone as an overdue time to bring this horrific saga to an end.
We shall therefore carry out a series of activities for a period of one week to compel our Federal Government to accelerate the decision and actions necessary to bring back the rest of our Chibok Girls to an anxiously waiting nation. Our actions shall also serve to remind Nigerians and the international community about the continued state of insecurity in Nigeria.
Today Sunday January 8, 2017, is 1,000 days since 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their school in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria by terrorists on the night of April 14, 2014. 57 girls escaped within days of the abduction and 219 were taken into captivity.
Since then, 4 girls have been found – September 24, 2014; May 18, 2016; November 5, 2016 & January 5, 2017. 3 of them have infants. The Federal Government with assistance from the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Government successfully negotiated the release of 21 girls on October 13th, 2016, one of whom has an infant. In the two years and nine months since their daughters were snatched away, 19 parents have died. 195 Chibok Girls remain in the hands of terrorists” she said .