After an earlier information by the Chibok Girls campaign group to stage a march together with the parents of the kidnapped girls and the Chibok community to re-engage with the president on the issue of their rescue on 14th January, a delegation of parents left Chibok on Tuesday 12 January for a 2-day journey to Abuja. Despite their meager income, the over 120 parents were determined and paid the bus fare from Chibok to enable them partake in the march to re-engage with the president after the first meeting of 8 July 2015″, as revealed in a statement made on behalf of the group by the campaign spokesperson, Sesugh Akume.
Unfortunately, the Bring Back Our Girls group were met with a very cold reception at the presidential villa as they gathered to meet with the president as slated. A delegation which include the Minister of Defence, National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Chief of Defence Staff was sent to speak with the group on behalf of the president but they however insisted that they would only speak with the president. This was after the Aisha Al-Hassan-led delegation was sent to welcome the protesters at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mrs. Alhassan, the Women Affairs minister, explained to the group,that the president would not be able to meet with the group considering the fact that the information about the meeting was given at a short notice.
When every attempt to placate the group of protesters failed, the president’s delegation was forced to send a message across to Buhari through the NSA. He was in a meeting with Boni Yayi, the president of Benin at the time.
Realizing that he cannot get the group off his back unless he attends to them himself, the president finally gave in to their request and promised to join them as soon as Yayi left. Buhari finally arrived the venue of the meeting at 1:47pm in the company of hid aides.
Although all journalists were ordered to leave the meeting hall, the outcome of the interaction will definitely be revealed considering the fact that most of the protesters were set to capture the events of the moments with their phones.
As reported by Punch, one of the spokespersons of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign and former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, faulted the manner in which the Minister for Women Affairs spoke to the group. In their report, the group registered their anger saying;
“…before the President resolved to meet the protesters, Ezekwesili had had a confrontation with the Minister of Women Affairs whom she accused of not being fair to the parents of the abducted girls with the way she spoke to them.
She said the minister was busy chiding the already traumatized parents in her choice of words.
This, she observed, was unlike the Minister of Defence, NSA and the CDS who she said their tones connected with the parents.”
The group later went to their official twitter handle and made the tweet below: