Parents of the Chibok school girls who were on their way from Chibok to Abuja to join in the planned march to Aso Rock to demand for updates on the missing girls were barred from proceeding by soldiers. Below is a statement released by the Bring Back Our Girls group on what truly transpired and their demand for an apology from the military.
Towards our earlier announced march together with the parents of our abducted Chibok girls and the Chibok community to re-engage with the president on the matter of their rescue this Thursday 14 January, a delegation of parents left Chibok this morning Tuesday 12 January for a 2-day journey to Abuja. Despite their meagre income, the over 120 parents were determined and paid the bus fare from Chibok to enable them to partake in the march to re-engage with the president after the first meeting of 8 July 2015.
-At about 8 am, we received information that they had been barred from proceeding by soldiers. We wondered if this was perhaps a random solitary act of some overzealous checkpoint leader or an action directed from the military high-command. Not wanting to speculate and escalate without establishing the facts behind the episode, we reached out to the administration through Pastor Tunde Bakare — a well-respected citizen and co-advocate of the cause of our Chibok girls.
We were subsequently informed the buses carrying our Chibok girls’ parents had been allowed to proceed on the journey to Abuja. However, only this evening, we were again informed that the checkpoint officers in Askira had allowed only 4 of the bus load of parents and held back 3 but we can factually confirm that 5 buses in all were held back — 2 in Chibok and 3 in Askira.
Tonight, the top echelon of the military and security team reached out apologising for the uncalled for and regrettable incident. Reasons adduced were that the fragile security context could have exposed such a large contingent of the parents to risks. Whilst we appreciate the legitimate safety concerns, we are convinced however that it could have been better handled with dignified treatment of parents who have been heartbroken over the last 638 days of their daughters’ captivity.
We therefore demanded :
I. a public apology to parent for this avoidable and unfortunate episode, and
II. a public commitment that the military will transport them out to Abuja tomorrow to enable them lead the march to meet with the president on Thursday.
The military has accepted and confirmed to us that it will fully handle the movement of the remaining remaining parents to Abuja tomorrow Wednesday 13 January. The parents are all set to re-embark on their botched journey while we await the arrival of the set that successfully left Chibok earlier today for Abuja.
We now await the public apology to the parents and the Chibok community.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls