The #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group has reacted to an invitation by the Federal Government to join in the short trip into Sambisa forest in search of the missing Chibok girls.
In their reaction, the BBOG outlined a set of conditions to be met by the Nigerian government before accepting its invitation for a trip into the dreaded Sambisa forest.
The group, in their letter dated January 13th and signed by Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, stated that:
“We had an emergency meeting of our Movement to discuss your invitation to embark on a ‘guided tour’ of the Nigerian Air Force Command (Yola) and Sambisa Forest with officials of the government.”
“However, before proceeding with further discussion on the proposed visit, we propose a pre-tour meeting to discuss pertinent issues that will help inform our decision to proceed.
“We believe that this prior meeting would help provide first-hand knowledge of, and answers to questions that our movement wishes to raise ahead of the guided visit.”
The group proposed that participants at the meeting include the National Security Adviser, the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff, and the Chief of Air Force.
The group accused the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, of endorsing a statement by “a certain group” visiting him which described the BBOG movement as engaging in “social media terrorism”.
“It is puzzling that the reported said visit happened less than 48 hours before our Movement received your letter asking us to travel in the company of the same Chief of Army Staff to Sambisa Forest,” the group stated.
“We demand therefore that ahead of the pre-tour meeting we have proposed herein, that the Chief of Army Staff retracts and apologizes for endorsing such slanderous attacks against our Movement #BringBackOurGirls and specifically at some of our leaders.
“Such a step would communicate that it is with goodwill that the Federal Government is asking us to entertain the visit proposed in your letter.”
The Federal Government had invited members of the Bring Our Girls Back group to a short trip into Sambisa forest in search of the missing Chibok girls.
The letter, dated January 11 and signed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and addressed to Oby Ezekwesili, the convener of the group, was made available to the media on Saturday.
In the letter, the government asked the BBOG to nominate three of its members to join on the guided trip on January 16 in recognition of the unwavering commitment of the group to the release of the girls.
“The trip being planned by the military will see the ministers of defence and information, the Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Army Staff joining the invited BBOG members and a select group of journalists.
“They will first go to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Command Centre in Yola to witness firsthand the efforts being made to search for the girls by NAF and then join the day and night sorties with the BAF to the Sambisa Forest.
“Please note that due to limited seats on the search plane, only two of the invited BBOG members will join the NAF sorties.
“After the sorties, the team will return to Yola for bidding by the NAF on their daily search for the girls as well as all those who have been abducted by Boko Haram.
“Departure is scheduled for 8.30a.m. at the Air Force wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Monday the Jan. 17, 2017,” the letter reads in part.