You would recall that on April 14, 2014, 276 female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State were abducted by Boko Haram. 57 of them managed to escape on their own while 219 remain in captivity with Boko Haram 500 days later.
TODAY, our Chibok Girls have been in captivity for 500 days! How much longer will this continue?
As concerned citizens of this country, the Bring-Back-Our-Girls (BBOG) advocacy group has highlighted the plight of these innocent girls even at a global level and engaged the government and other agencies in a constructive manner to secure the rescue of the girls.
Our advocacy methodology include a daily sit-out in Abuja, weekly sit-outs in Lagos, Oshogbo, and Ibadan; visits to relevant stakeholders and development of tools like the Citizens’ Solutions to End Terrorism and the Verification, Authentication and Reunification System (VARS).
Stakeholders that we have engaged include the Governor of Borno State; the previous Chief of Defense Staff & National Security Adviser; various UN agencies; Ambassadors of our neighbouring countries and recently, President Muhammadu Buhari.
May 5th, 2014was our first protest to the government of Lagos State. Our primary request then, which still remains our request now is a demand; that the Nigerian government fulfill its constitutional role by ensuring that the welfare of Nigerians is its number ONE priority.
The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG)movement believe that we can hardly over-emphasize the alarming and devastating impact the unresolved abduction of schoolgirls has had on education in the North East in general, and the education of the girl child in particular, and the long-term implications for Nigeria’s development.
We are aware that the Chibok girls are not the only victims of the insurgency in the north-east. Nigerians were kidnapped before them and more have been kidnapped after them.
However, for the Chibok girls, we know their names, we have their pictures and we have met their parents. We will continue to use them as symbol for the ongoing crisis because we believe that whatever machinery is deployed to rescue them will help other Nigerians.
As President Buhari noted in his inaugural address to the Nigerian people, “we cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents”.
The situation in the north-east has also created what is considered the worst humanitarian crisis since the Nigerian civil war.
There are over 2 million internally displaced people in Nigeria and some of them are in Lagos State. On March 20th, we came to this office in solidarity with the IDPs to call on the Lagos State government to support the demand to ensure that the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency fulfills its legal role of safeguarding their welfare.
Mr Governor, our requests are as follows:
1) As a Nigerian Governor and a member of the governing party, that you put pressure on the relevant government agencies to deliver on their mandates.
2) As Governor of Lagos, that you mandate the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency to enumerate the IDPs in the three official camps in the state; Kirikiri, Ibeju-Lekki and Magodo and ensure that their immediate needs are met and they have the same rights to education and healthcare that are applicable to Lagos State residents.
3) As Governor of Lagos, that you commission a security review of all public schools in Lagos to ensure that children in Lagos State are safe and remain safe.
4) As a Nigerian Governor and member of the Nigerian Governors Forum that you share on our behalf these demands with your colleagues and ensure that collectively, you take a strong stance for action to curb the insurgency, rescue our Chibok Girls and other Nigerians and cater to IDPs across the country.
We look forward to your support and hope that your office will provide periodic reports on progress made on these critical areas of concern.
It’s 500 days since our girls were abducted and we are committed to making sure Lagosians and Nigerians do not forget them. Chibok might seem very far away but in the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr, “injustice to one, is injustice to all.”
Thank you for your time.
Ms Yemisi Ransome-Kuti
Mrs Aisha Oyebode
Ms Ayo Obe
Mrs Ngozi Iwere
Mrs Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi
Mr Olalere Babasola
Ms. Yemi Adamolekun
Mrs Habiba Balogun
Mrs Amina Oyagbola
For the Lagos BBOG Family
o Names of the 219 Girls
o Photographs of some of the abducted Chibok girls
o Citizens’ Solutions to End Terrorism
o Verification, Authentication and Reunification System (VARS)
o Presentation to Mr. President