The members of the Chibok community and representatives of the 12 fathers and 5 escaped girls out of the 290 abducted school girls by the Islamist terrorists group, Boko Haram has given their reasons for the botched proposed meeting with Mr President.
Speaking with journalists, Dauda Iliya, Elder and spokesperson of Chibok community in Abuja under the umbrella of “Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association (KADA) said the visit of the parents of the kidnapped girls to Abuja was on the invitation of Malala, the Pakistan child girl education campaigner not by Mr President.
The community elders at a briefing yesterday in Abuja said it is totally misleading, unjust and without foundation to hold the Citizen’s platform “BringBackOurGirls” or any individual(s) responsible for their decision.
According to them, “the logistics and meeting between the 12 fathers and 5 girls and Malala was facilitated by the Abuja Chibok community and Citizen’s platform BringBackOurGirls with our consent and on trust considering their sustained and focused advocacy to Bring Back our daughters.
“These parents and escaped girls did not come to Abuja at the instance of government or its representatives for a meeting with Mr President but on the full understanding that they were coming to meet with Malala.
“That in the course of the interactions with Malala, neither the parents nor the escaped girls asked for a meeting with the President or any government functionary, rather the narrative back home was to persistently ask why Mr President has not visited them in Chibok since the abduction”.
Elder Iliya noted that: “it is obvious that their numbers of 12 fathers and 5 girls is about 2% of the parents of the 219 abducted girls still with their abductors and the 57 girls that escaped.
“Therefore, these parents decided on their own accord to review the announced visit of Mr President which they first heard of, like other persons during Malala speech at Hilton hotel.
“That consequent to their decision to revert to other family members in order to incorporate every stakeholders on the matter as well as avoid discord and suspicion on a change of plans from original mission to Abuja, they reached out to the Malala team and through them to the Presidency; to request for a new date for an expanded and more representative meeting that has legitimate mandate to meet with the President”.
He said their request for a new date for the meeting was also in recognition of the huge opportunity of a meeting with the President for the first time and after 90 days of the tragic abduction of their daughters and “therefore required better consultations, structure and formality as against an instant advocacy request”.
He however said they received a formal invitation from the Presidency today (yesterday) and are eager
Waiting for the date.
In his words, “We therefore take full responsibility for our decision and welcome the formal invitation by the Presidency as a follow up to Malala’s visit which we received this morning”
Recall that the Presidency yesterday accused Dr Ngozi Ezekwesili, one of the key members of Citizen’s platform BringBackOurGirls as being the brain behind the botched meeting with the President.