The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
? Chapter 2, Section 14 2(b), Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
On April 14, 2014, 276 female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State were abducted by the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram. 57 of them managed to escape on their own while 219 remain in captivity with Boko Haram close to 500 days later.
Outraged about the lack of government response, Nigerian citizens mobilized and took to the streets to demand the
immediate rescue of the girls. In the initial weeks following the abductions, there were protests in Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Abuja, Enugu, Ekiti supported by friends and supporters around the world – London, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Paris, Germany and Nairobi to name a few.
Thursday, August 27, 2015, will mark their 500 days in captivity! 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.
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. It is for this reason, that the BBOG Group in Lagos, in consonance with the Global week of action, has planned a state-wide walk and audience with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The state-wide procession will begin from Obafemi Awolowo Way roundabout, Allen Avenue Junction in Ikeja at 9.00am same day. The walk and audience with Mr. Governor has been organized as an advocacy interactive session to receive update on government’s efforts to rescue the Chibok girls and other abducted citizens of Nigeria; and how the insecurity situation in the North East and the plight of internally displaced people (IDPs) are being addressed by the government.
We shall continue to raise our voices and demand for the rescue of our girls, because the fight for the Chibok Girls is really a fight for the soul of Nigeria as we show that Nigerian lives matter and it will never be acceptable that citizens will be missing and we’ll just move on! In doing this, we remember those around the world, particularly the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon who have joined us in this cry and we say ‘thank you’ for standing with us.
When will we stop?
Not until our girls are back and alive!
“When will we stop?”
“Not without our daughters!”
Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, Mrs Aisha Oyebode, Ms. Ayo Obe, Mrs Habiba Balogun, Mrs Amina
Oyagbola, Mrs. Ngozi Iwere, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Ms. Yemi Adamolekun and Mr. Babasola