BringBackOurGirls campaigners write IG
Following clarifications by the Inspector General of Police, IG, that the police did not ban protest in Abuja over the abducted Chibok Schoolgirls, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group that is leading the protest wrote a letter to police boss yesterday informing him of the resumption of its protest today.
The FCT Police Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Mbu had announced a ban on protest arguing that there was an intelligence report that the protest would be hijacked by hoodlums to unleash terror on Abuja residents.
The announcement elicited angry reactions from Nigerians. The IG later explained that the police merely issued an advisory notice enjoining citizens to apply caution during the rallies.
The campaigners’ decision to write the letter, according to them was in line with the advice from their counsel, Femi Falana, SAN.
“In line with advice from our legal counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, We are writing a letter (today) to the Inspector General of Police on our seat-out proceedings given the advice from the police boss as a result of the overturn of CP Mbu’s ban,” they said in the letter.
With the letter sent to the IG, the group resolved to meet in the FCT High court tomorrow (today) before taking the next line of action on its meeting.
The group insisted that nobody has the power to stop them from holding peaceful meeting to press home its demand for the release of the abducted Chibok girls, and felt that it was only right to officially write the Police boss before resuming its usual seat-out meeting.
Citing the constitution, the group said: “Any action that violates our constitutionally guaranteed rights as citizens, particularly our rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, among others as enshrined in Chapter Four (Section 40) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) is illegal and unconstitutional.
“Our Movement is legitimate and lawful and cannot be arrested by the police whose responsibility is to enforce, not betray the law.”
It will be recalled that the FCT Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu had on Monday, June 2, at a news conference in Abuja, issued an order banning all forms of protest for the release of the abducted Chibok girls, saying that such protests demanding the rescue of over 250 girls kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State, pose a serious security threat to the country.
The IGP’s intervention came on the same day the #BringBackOurGirls group, that is behind the protest, filed a N200m suit at the Abuja High Court, challenging the powers of the Nigerian Police Force to ban any form of protest within the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, after an outrage from members of the public greeted the decision of the FCT Police Commissioner. (Vanguard)
2Face releases song for #BringBackOurGirls campaign
Determined to shore up support for the global #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) campaign, Nigeria’s top artiste, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2face, has released a music video “Break the Silence”.
The single, which is primarily a call for peace and unity, is timely especially after the abduction of the over 200 girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, by the Boko Haram sect over 50 days ago. There has been global outrage against the abduction just as many countries have joined Nigeria both in the rescue operation to free the abducted girls and also tackle terrorism in the sub-region.
According to Idibia, the song is a call for the safe return of the Chibok girls and work towards peace building which must be sustained.
He said: “This is just another step in the journey towards the promotion of peace and unity in our nation and the world. It is a timely response to the global call for the release of the abducted Chibok girls and the restoration of peace in Nigeria.” The music video, which paraded a horde of music stars under the umbrella of Idibia’s Million Voices for Peace (MVP) project, recorded the song to also raise funds to support the work of the Nigerian Red Cross.
Aside Idibia, other stars who featured in the video are Precision Productions and Machel Montano from Trinidad & Tobago; Samini, K-Slim, PKD, Squadee from Ghana; and Spyke, Sound Sultan, Essence, Righteousman, Joe El and Ferre Galo from the Republic of Congo.
Meanwhile, Spaces for Change, a non-profit organisation working to infuse human rights into social and economic governance processes in Nigeria through advocacy, public interest litigation and community action, has said there is need to go beyond the social media hashtag campaign to bring back the kidnapped girls.
Its executive director, Mrs. Victoria Ohaeri, who spoke to THISDAY said the #BeyondtheHashtags is a conversation seeking to interrogate and evaluate the handling of the counter-terrorism operations in the northern part of the country, with a special focus on the abduction of the hundreds of the Chibok schoolgirls.
She said this conclusion was reached by the Citizens Forum, comprising legal experts, human rights advocates, community leaders, students, public servants, security operatives, media professionals, concerned citizens and civil society organisations, who decided to unite to take the anti-terror campaign beyond the streets and online action. Ohaeri said beyond the social media action, there is need to deal with corruption, as dealing with Boko Haram-led terrorism in an environment of government corruption and human rights abuses, is unlikely to yield lasting peace and positive outcomes.
She said: “The Boko Haram insurgency is not a regional crisis. Therefore, to win the war against festering insecurity, the Boko Haram insurgency must be viewed as an urgent national crisis requiring a comprehensive national response to the situation.” (Thisday)
Cameroon, Chad to block Boko Haram routes
To facilitate the rescue of the over 200 abducted Chibok schoolgirls, Cameroon and Chad may have agreed to block routes in their territories used by Boko Haram, it was learnt yesterday.
Some of the routes, top security sources told The Nation, have been identified.
If the routes are blocked, the sect will be confined to its camps in Nigeria.
A military source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent last night, said all those involved in the planned rescue of the girls have been holding strategy meetings.
The source said: “The pre-rescue plans have reached advanced stage and very soon, we expect tangible results.
“Cameroon and Chad troops have identified some camps and movement routes of Boko Haram. They want to block these routes in order to restrict the sect operations to Nigeria.
“With the blockade, Nigerian troops with neighboring countries’ forces and the foreign counterparts can move in to rescue the girls wherever they are located.
“We have located where the girls are but the priority now is to see the best way to get these girls out without casualties.
“We are strategising on how to ensure a successful rescue operation.”
The Federal Government also spoke on ongoing efforts to get back the girls, saying it has not foreclosed negotiation with Boko Haram.
Coordinator of the National Information Centre Mike Omeri told reporters in Abuja that all options, including negotiation, were on the cards on rescuing the girls.
Giving an update on security operations in the Northeast, where Boko Haram is on the rampage, Omeri said.
He did not state the negotiation steps taken by the government.
Last Sunday the London’s Mail on Sunday reported that an Australian, Dr. Stephen Davis, as been hired by the government to negotiate with Boko Haram on the girls’ release.
The negotiator, who is a friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who visited President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja yesterday, told the newspaper that the girls were being kept in Chad, Cameron and Niger.
He advised against urging force to rescue the girls to prevent them from coming to harm.
“The Federal Government is totally committed and focused towards ensuring that our beloved children, kidnapped girls, are returned safe and sound.
“Therefore, as we said before, all options in line with international best practices are open in this case,’’ Omeri said.
Omeri said the Federal Government had begun the distribution of relief materials to communities affected by the insurgency in the Northeast and Jos, the Plateau State, while scores died in an explosion about two weeks ago, through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
According to him, efforts are ongoing to reach victims also affected by the insurgency in other states.
Omeri called for help from the public, individuals and corporate organisations, for the victims.
Also yesterday, a coordinator of BringBackOurGirls campaign, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday said the campaigners were never busy bodies.
She said no smear campaign would deter the protesters.
Ezekwesili said: “Our character and not reputation is what we were brought up to cherish and build. Nothing the authors of falsehood do touches one’s character.
“The Federal Government’s failure so far to rescue our Chibok girls is the consequence of the systemic indifference that followed the news of their abduction.
“Until the Federal Government owns up to the truth of their nearly three weeks of neglect of our Chibok girls, it makes it harder for citizens to believe their efforts.
“Experts say that proactive steps taken within the first 24 hours of abduction increase the probability of rescue. After five days, it is harder.
“For the sake of the Chibok girls, one pleads that embracing the truth, no matter how hard it is, will help the Federal Government to BringBackOurGirls.
On the allegation that the campaigners had been crying more than the bereaved, the former Vice President of the World Bank said those saying so were ignorant.
She added: “Some say we cry more than the bereaved. Well, what do they know? If only they have seen or heard as I have some of the mums and dads of the girls.
“So, those of you that have voice, never cease to use it for the Chibok girls. They need you and I keep demanding BringBackOurGirls.” (Osun Defender)
BringBackOurGirls campaigners write IG