Stella Dimoko FG Invites Ezekwesili, BBOG to Tour of Sambisa Forest


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

FG Invites Ezekwesili, BBOG to Tour of Sambisa Forest

In a move to underline the military’s success in the antiterrorism war in the North-east, the federal government has invited the convener of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, to join a delegation for an assessment tour of Sambisa Forest and other battle spots on Monday, January 16. The offer was contained in a letter to Ezekwesili by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed. She was asked to nominate three members of the BBOG to be part of the mission at the instance of the military.

The letter said the delegation that would depart the Air Force wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport tomorrow will comprise Mohammed; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, BBOG members and a select group of journalists. They will tour the NAF base in Yola and witness the first-hand efforts by NAF to search for the unaccounted Chibok girls by joining the day and night sorties to Sambisa forest.

But BBOG, in a reply to the invitation, yesterday, listed conditions for its participation in the tour. The group requested a pre-tour meeting with the government and the military. It also demanded that Buratai should withdraw his endorsement of a group he received at the Army Headquarters, who had accused BBOG of engaging in “social advocacy terrorism,” and apologise to BBOG.

The military had in the last week of December last year recorded a psychological victory when it succeeded in pushing out the Boko Haram insurgents from Sambisa Forest, their last bastion in the restive Lake Chad region.

Ezekwesili, a former Vice-President of World Bank and ex-Minister of Education, has been a strong voice leading the quest for the return of the Chibok girls from captivity, since the girls numbering over 270 were abducted from their school hostel in Borno State in April 2014.

The BBOG was very critical of the failure of former President Goodluck Jonathan to fast-track the return of the girls and equally spearheaded many protest marches in Abuja against the Buhari administration on the freedom of the girls, until 21 of them were released following a negotiated deal in October last year.

In the letter dated January 11, 2017, Mohammed noted that it was in recognition of the unwavering commitment of the BBOG group to the freedom of the Chibok girls that it was offered the invitation to join the guided tour of the North-east.

But in their reply to the federal government’s offer, dated January 13, 2017, BBOG stated, “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.

“Our members unanimously agreed that the movement is open to exploring the opportunity for a visit to the North-east theatre of war as presented in your invitation. However, before proceeding with further discussions 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.

“We propose that participants at the meeting be the National Security Adviser to the President and the other officials of government indicated in your letter. These are: 1. The Minister of Defence, 2. The Chief of Army Staff, and 3. The Chief of Air Forces.

“Furthermore, we wish to raise a matter critical to our proposed meeting. Only two days ago, the federal government-owned News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) widely reported, through the mass media, that during a visit to the Army Headquarters by a certain group which was received by the Chief of Army Staff, our movement was attacked for engaging in ‘social advocacy terrorism.’

“It is puzzling that the 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.

“We demand, therefore, that ahead of the pre-tour meeting we haveproposed herein, that the Chief of Army Staff retracts and apologises 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.”

BBOG had in an earlier statement challenged the federal government to raise the bar on accountability and good governance even as it fights corruption at all levels of government. The group frowned on what it called the abuse of funds meant for developmental purposes under Buhari’s watch. It added that Nigerians were not yet fully convinced that a minimum standard of accountable governance had been achieved since the president’s inauguration.

In the statement issued in Abuja and jointly signed by Oby Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu on behalf of the group, BBOG said “while it is important for Nigeria as a nation to recover the loot from past government officials and their cronies, it is equally important to note that the public has expectations that cases of corruption will be thoroughly investigated and speedily prosecuted and concluded and that the guilty will in reality be jailed.”

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  1. We need our economy to be stabilized and not all these useless talks

  2. Hehehehe
    This kind invite got me laughing.
    Anyway I think is for Oby to with her eyes.
    Good morning BVs
    Enjoy your day

  3. lmao. she really deserve to tour that desert. I don laugh sote fall for ground.

  4. Hope this tour would be safe sha...we don't want stories that touches the heart later

  5. This invitation is suspicious. She doesn't have the support of the govt all through the campaign..this is more like a vindicative tour for the military

  6. Yeye woman. She never see something. Nothing for you Oby.

  7. This people want boko boys to attack the woman in that forest. This invite get k-leg

  8. Hahahahaha!Madam Oby! I will not tell you that this is a trap! End time tour!😁

  9. This invitation is simply a polite insult. Judging from the hostility of the fg to the bbog group, the so called invitation has a very sarcastic undertone. Why would you want a group of women to 'tour' a volatile zone? To prove your 'psychological' victory to them? What exactly are they gonna do in sambisa? To relieve the torturous experiences of innocent people? This is nonsense! Give them what they are asking for and they leave you in peace. It quite painful to see our once gallant military being reduced to the level of boko haram. These animals should have been wiped out a long time ago. But we all know the political game being played. Keep tugging at them and more cash flows in. Have you Nigerians bothered to ask what has been done with all the monies budgeted for the anti-terror fight? For arms? Our soldiers are poorly equipped and they are dying in their numbers. The money gets diverted and the rest is history. We have been shortchanged and are still being shortchanged in this country. If the fg had the girls interests at heart, they wouldn't turn their backs on the very voice that speaks for them.

    One more thing. Enough of the oby wants a reward talk. It's easy for you to sit in the comfort of your homes and type every gibberish waltzing in and out of your mind. Let's not forget how she swung swiftly into action. She alongside her group have passionately pursued this cause since then with relentless efforts. It is very unfair to dampen their vision with such talks.

  10. Let them go with the military and see what these men are doing out there. Its not all about making noise in front of camera on the street of Abuja... Nice invitation I must say.

  11. Buhari who is grand commander in chief of the armed forces has not toured sambisa forest even after he promised to lead Nigerian Army there to fight boko haram, why Oby? This is a calculated plan to assassinate the woman. Madam Oby, be wise and go no where. 2019 will definitely come and the Daura man would be sent back to his blood thirsty people.

  12. Buhari and his gworo chewing brothers are bunch of idiotic smellos.after ridiculing her,refusing 2 give her appointement,dey are now asking her 2 come and tour sambisa she d minister 4 tourism??.dat Idiotic Buhari should lead d delegation.

  13. This Buhari and his admin should continue with their Aboki sense

  14. Tour ke for inside all mighty Sambisa...Hmmmmmmmm

  15. Madam better don't go anywhere,they want to off your life! Stupid government, during their campaigns, they rode on the backs of BBOG against Gej,now same group is labeled all sorts of negative names by this same govt. #Shame


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