The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday, had a taste of the fury of the Bring Back Our Girls Group, BBOG, when the group, led by a former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, stormed the seat of power, the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, demanding a one on one audience with the the President.
The group, in company of some parents of the abducted students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, had stormed the seat of power in a protest, apparently in connection with the continued missing of the girls after 600 days.
The protest was however not without drama, as the protester, led by Ezekwesili, without prior appointment with the President insisted on meeting with him even after they were told that he was not available because of the impromptu nature of their visit. The insistence of the group however got the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Fatima Alhassan on the edge, making her declare to the group that the girls were not kidnapped during the present administration.
Ezekwesili, who had hitherto enjoyed a rosy relationship with the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, was however miffed by the minister’s statement as she matter of factly told the federal government delegation that attended to them that the current administration has not been fair to the group and the cause they championing.
The group also insisted they would wait for as long as it takes for the President to the free to see them. President Buhari, who latter joined the group at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, was said to be in a meeting with the visiting President of the Republic of Benin at the time.
The President, who had a closed door meeting the group afterwards, told them that securing the release and safe return of the missing 219 Chibok girls was his responsibility, while also ordering the National Security Adviser, NSA, General Babagana Munguno, to set up a panel to investigate the abduction of the girls.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the “investigation will seek to, among other things, unravel the remote and immediate circumstances leading the kidnap of the girls by Boko Haram terrorists as well the other events, actions and in actions that followed the incident.”
President Buhari also told the group that he remained fully committed to his pledge to rescue the girls, regretting that the previous government he succeeded failed to purchase the necessary weapons meant to adequately combat insurgency in the country.
“I assure you that I go to bed and wake up every day with the Chibok girls on my mind. The unfortunate incident happened before this government came into being.
“What have we done since we assumed office? We re-organized the military, removed all the service chiefs and ordered the succeeding service chiefs to deal decisively with the Boko Haram insurgency.
“In spite of the terrible economic condition we found ourselves in, we tried to get some resources to give to the military to reorganize and equip, retrain, deploy more troops and move more forcefully against Boko Haram.
“And you all know the progress we have made. When we came in Boko Haram was in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. Boko Haram has now been reduced to areas around Lake Chad.
“Securing the Chibok girls is my responsibility. The service chiefs and heads of our security agencies will tell you that in spite of the dire financial straits that we found the country in, I continue to do my best to support their efforts in that regard.
“This is a Nigeria where we were exporting average of two million barrels per day at over 140 dollars per barrel. Now it is down to about 27 to 30 dollars.
“You have been reading in the press how they took public funds, our funds, your funds and shared it, instead of buying weapons. That was the kind of leadership I succeeded. That was the kind of economy I inherited”, the President said.
R-L; FORMER MINISTER AND PROMOTER OF BRINGBACKOURGIRLS, MRS OBY EZEKWESILI AND OTHERS MEMBERS AT THE EVENT
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