Today marks day 140 since the abduction of 219 girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, while they were sitting for their final exams.
Our Movement, #BringBackOurGirls, is an organ for advocacy and civic engagement which has from inception always taken appropriate steps to reach out to relevant stakeholders. Our purpose has been singular, to ensure that the relevant authorities do everything within their powers to search for and bring back the abducted Chibok school girls, alive and well.
In accordance with our practice, we wish to observe with considerable consternation, the recent revelations by one Dr. Stephen Davis, who has been widely reported to have a track record of negotiating on behalf of the Federal Government with militants and insurgents in Nigeria. It is surprising that following the revelations and claims by Dr. Davis, the Federal Government has not provided any specific responses or reactions. As well-meaning citizens who consistently demand for accountability in the process of governance and given our concerns about the Chibok girls who have been in captivity for almost five months now, we seek clarifications from the Presidency on the following pertinent issues that have come out of the Davis interviews:
1) What was the nature of the mandate given to Dr. Davis to be a negotiator working for the rescue of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls?
2) When the President re-established contact with Davis in the wake of the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, what was the support given to the negotiator to facilitate the release of the hostages?
3) What did the Presidency do with all the information provided by Davis in relation to the negotiations?
4) What were the reasons for rejecting the peace deal, which Davis worked out with the insurgents during the tenure of the late General Owoye Andrew Aziza, especially as the said rejection led to a spike in the insurgency and the escalation of kidnappings as typified by the case of the Chibok schoolgirls.
5) Given the alarming allegations about Boko Haram sponsors and funding processes involving prominent Nigerians and a significant institution like the Central Bank, does the Presidency intend to do a thorough verification, as well as reveal the outcome of its findings to Nigerians?
6) Is the Presidency going to act decisively at this point in time to ensure the release of the abducted girls given the heart-breaking account of the ordeal they are passing through at the hands of their captors?
We will persevere in the demand for the swift rescue of the abducted Chibok girls until they are brought back to us, safe and alive. We must all continue to demand #BringBackOurGirls Now and ALIVE! We shall not stop until our girls are back ALIVE
Obiageli Ezekwesili & Hadiza Bala Usman