A spokeswoman for the “Bring Back Our Girls” movement in Nigeria has again said it is the duty of the Nigerian government to rescue the Chibok girls from Boko Haram captivity, regardless which political party is in power.
Aisha Yesufu said liberating the girls is not a privilege but a constitutional right that the Nigerian government must fulfill.
The Islamist extremist group kidnapped more than 270 girls from a boarding school in Chibok, northern Nigeria in April 2014.
On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari met with about 300 parents and sympathizers of the girls, and promised he will launch a new inquiry into the circumstances leading to the kidnapping.
But the parents left the meeting feeling less optimistic that the government would do whatever is necessary to liberate the girls, Yesufu said.
“First of all, the president failed to make any connection with the parents of the girls who today have spent 21 months since they were abducted. There was no personal connection. The president finished his talk at the microphone and walked out. That was an opportunity for us as a nation to connect with the parents and after that apologize to them for what has happened and make them feel that they are not alone in this whole tragedy that has befallen them,” she said.
Yesufu said Buhari basically reiterate what he had said earlier, that he had no credible intelligence on the whereabouts of the Chibok girls and that he is still waiting for the credible leadership of the Boko Haram group to come meet him and negotiate their release.
“Also, there were so many things that he did mention, the fact that the fight against terrorism that he has embarked on should be appreciated; and also that the Chibok girls were not abducted during his regime. They were abducted during the previous regime,” she said.
But Yesufu said whoever is president of Nigeria is responsible for rescuing the Chibok girls.
“First of all, there is no vacuum in the governance irrespective of during whose administration the girls were abducted. It is the duty of the Nigerian government to ensure that the Chibok girls are rescued, and whoever is head of the Nigerian government is responsible for the rescue of the Chibok girls,” Yesufu said.
She said Buhari also told the parents that his government is fighting a war on corruption, and that a lot of money that was supposed to be used to arm the military in the fight against Boko Haram went into the hands of individuals and that his government is trying to recover the stolen money.
Yesufu said the Bring Back Our Girls movement will continue to agitate until the girls are released.
“We will not allow Nigerians, we will not allow the government to forget the girls or treat the demand for their release as an irritating issue. We will focus on it, and we will keep calling on the government to ensure that the girls are brought back home. It doesn’t matter during what administration the Chibok girls were abducted. All that matters is that the Nigerian government must rescue the girls, and in doing so must realize that they are not doing the Chibok girls a privilege by rescuing them,” she said.