BBOG Campaigners Demand Speedy Trial of Those Indicted By Arms Procurement Probe
The Bring Back Our Girls Campaign group on Monday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to hasten the trial of those indicted by the arms procurement probe panel even as it urged him to negotiate with Boko Haram terrorists for the release of the kidnapped Chibok Secondary School girls.
The group who spoke in Abuja while embarking on a protest to press the president to double his efforts to rescue the girls also asked the president to set up a ‘special desk’ to fast-tracking the trial of the suspects in the diversion of arm procurement funds.
BBOG's Spokesperson, Aisha Yesufu while addressing protesters at the main entrance to the Three Arms Zone in Abuja called on the president to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and anti-graft agencies to set up the desk.
She said the desk would among other things provide regular updates on the trials of those indicted in the arms probe so that Nigerians would understand the progress made so far.
According to her, “there are two other issues of deep concern to our movement. First; what we consider a slow, ineffectual response to the tragedy in the Internationally Displaced Person camps in the north east and the prosecution of corrupt cases associated with counter insurgency war of government.
“In the light of the revelation of diversion of funds, which should have early in the crises helped to avert this disaster, we call for a deliberate hastening of the trials and conviction of guilty persons within legal provisions. This is the only way we can bring justice to our fellow citizens whose human and materials loses cannot even begin to be estimated.
“We reject any suspension of the trials without reaching a logical conclusion."
The group also called on the president to as a matter of urgency take decision for the immediate rescue of the remaining 218 girls, using the following options: military operations, negotiation with the terrorists and a combination of both.
“With all the information available, the president must pursue the lowest risk option of this three,” the group said.
It called for an address by the president on the rescue plan of the Chibok girls, not later than today.
The BBOG also demanded that government should sets up a Chibok rescue operation monitoring team, made up of representatives of federal government, parents of Chibok girls, KADA community where Chibok village is located and the #BringBackOurGirls group.
It said it was necessary for government to immediately ‘preside over national emergency’ in the north east conference to articulate a cohesive response plan to the humanitarian crisis and designate a ‘special envoy’ responsible for the inter-agency collaborative work required.
The group also called on government to mobilise the private and public sector, as well as the international community towards addressing the humanitarian crisis caused by the menace in the north east region.
“It is unacceptable that continuous calls for the humanitarian community and relief organisations for a deliberate and urgent response to the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the north east have so far met utter silence.
“Mr. President no leader in the 21st century should be silent in the face of imminent death for what has been estimated as about 500, 000 of its citizens, especially with the images and abundance of evidence of this possibility."
Esther Yakubu, the mother of Maida Yakubu, the young lady who was recently seen speaking in the proof of life video released by the Boko Haram terrorist group, had said the family of the abducted girls were tired of seeing videos of their daughters in the hands of terrorists.
She called for an end to what she described as the denial of their fundamental rights by government and the media.
Security operatives drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC as well as the Department of State Services DSS had earlier barred the group from gaining access to the Three Arms Zone where the Presidential Villa is located.
As part of the group's 14 days campaign to pressurise the government to intensify efforts to rescue the girls taken away from their school on April 14 2014, the group had planed a protest to the Presidential Villa.
However, a massive blockade of the road to the Three Arms Zone ensured that the campaign could not get to the villa.
The protest was jointly led by Oby Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu while the police detachment was led by CSP Chuks Obasi.
Both Ezekwesili and CSP Obasi were involved in a shouting match as the officer insisted that the protesters would not cross the human barricade put together by the security operatives.
In the course of the confrontation, Ezekwesili told the security operatives that the group was a peaceful.
She said: "For many years, we have been advocating, we have never engaged in anarchy.”
She also warned the leader of the police team to stop pointing his fingers at her while addressing her.
Replying, Obasi said: “Well, I have my mandate and my mandate is to ensure that a protest match does not assume a violent dimension."
Some members of the group who spoke expressed their dissatisfaction with the way and manner the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration was handling the kidnapped Chibok girls' case.
A member of the campaign and who is also from the Chibok community, Hoses Tsambido said BBOG group had voted the All Progressives Congress as against its previous votes in 2011 instead of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said:"We were promised that the president would visit Sambisa, after becoming president. We were also told that within two weeks our girls would be rescued.
"But over one year now, there is no tangible statement about our girls. The presidency has stated instead that it is confused.
"They told us that our girls seen in the latest video was merely an arrangement. No one has spoken to the family of any of the Chibok girls since the last video was released, by the terrorists. We regret our votes. We regret it."
The BBOG said the Buhari administration no longer had any valid excuse for not resuing the girls.
"No more excuses," they shouted.