In the past few days the promoters of the #BringBackOurGirls, BBOG, campaign have been having it very rough in the hands of the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration as they tried to renew public awareness on the missing students of Government Secondary School, Chibok. The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) protesters were not only harassed by security operatives, they were also accosted by supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari, while they were on their way to the presidential villa.
A spokesperson for the pro-Buhari group, Idris King, described the #BringBackOurGirls group as a scam, sponsored to undermine the administration of the APC.
BBOG group, campaigning for the release of the over 200 missing Chibok schoolgirls abducted in April 2014 by extremist sect, Boko Haram, were marching to the villa where they hoped to see President Buhari and press home the demand for the safe return of the girls.
This development came after a recent video of the Chibok schoolgirls was released by Boko Haram, BBOG announced its decision to be marching to the villa every 72 hours until President Buhari briefs them of an immediate plan to rescue the girls who have been in captivity since 2014.
However, while on their way to the presidential villa at the Three Arms Zone on Tuesday, the protesters were stopped by a group of anti-riot policemen led by the police deputy commissioner, M. D. Garba.
The allegation by the spokesperson for the pro-Buhari group that the #BringBackOurGirls group as a scam, sponsored to undermine the administration of the APC is in sharp contradiction to the position of members of the APC who claimed two years ago that their members were the brains behind the BBOG when the group was formed in 2014 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The fate of the hapless school girls was a major issue before the 2015 presidential election as the failure of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue the girls was used by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to campaign against him.
The campaign took political coloration during the electioneering campaign as observers accused the organizers of #BringBackOurGirls of advancing the partisan interests of the then opposition APC to undermine the last PDP administration.
The allegation was fallout of open acknowledgement by APC chieftain and incumbent minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe about two years ago at Eagle Square Abuja when General Muhammadu Buhari formally declared his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election, that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign as an offshoot of the APC.
Ogbeh said: “We send our greetings to the Chibok parents. We believe that one day they will be reunited with their children. We commend the Bring Back Our Girls movement led by members of our party for their commitment. They remain the only living witnesses that Nigeria still has a conscience.”
The organization, which was very vocal and visible during the last administration as they took over the Unity Fountain, Abuja, gradually disappeared from public radar after the founder, Hadiza Bala Usman was appointed into the Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee of Muhammadu Buhari.
Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai later appointed the #BringBackOurGirls co-founder as his chief of staff.
Governor El-Rufai also acknowledged that Hadiza Usman is an active card-carrying member of the APC.
A statement signed by El Rufai’s Spokesman, Samuel Aruwan said: “In April 2014, Hadiza co-founded the global movement #BringBackOurGirls which has been demanding for the rescue of the 219 young girls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok Secondary School in Borno State North East Nigeria.
“In August 2014 she gave touching speech on Chibok Girls at the United Nations Headquarters in New York during United Nations Department of Public Information, UN DPI, conference as a guest speaker.
“She is well-known figure in the APC where she served in a number of committees and capacities, key amongst which are: the Administrative Secretary of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organization; Secretary, APC Elections Planning Committee; Member APC Strategy Committee. She was also Director of Finance in the Nasir El-Rufai Campaign Organization, and later the Kaduna State APC Campaign Council”.
With the victory of APC at the polls it appears the purpose for which the #BringBackOurGirls was initiated has been achieved as little or nothing was heard from them despite the fact that the Chibok girls have not been brought back or rescued.
However, Oby Ezekwesisli, still maintained her daily tweets she reels out on twitter through her handle, @obyezeks. In one of her tweets she said the federal government should not allow another 24 hours to pass without any tangible result on the rescue the girls.
In spite of President Buhari’s promise during the electioneering campaign that he will rescue the Chibok girls from captivity, the Nigerian leader dampened hope of rescuing the girls on April 14 during the first year anniversary of the abduction of the girls.
In a speech to mark the day President Buhari said; “We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them. But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my Government will do everything in its power to bring them home.”
However, on September 29 last year during the United Nations General Assembly, the Nigerian leader promised the global assembly that he will rescue the Chibok girls.
“One of our major aims is to rescue the Chibok girls alive and unharmed,” he said to applause during his first address to the General Assembly since taking office at the end of May this year.
Following the fizzling out of the #BringBackOurGirls, other Nigerians have picked up the gaulet to pressure the Nigerian government to make good its promise to rescue the girls.
During the convocation ceremony of the Kwara State University, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka lamented the continued captivity of the missing Chibok girls.
In a speech titled “Faith, Science and Imagination in the Temple of Knowledge” Prof Soyinka said, “It is disheartening that the abducted girlshave not been rescued about 60 weeks after their kidnap. The kidnapped pupils were potential doctors when we sent them to take their first qualifying examination; up till today we cannot say whether they are alive, whether they are in slavery or had been sold off.”
On October 13 last year the House of Representatives reminded President Buhari of his promise to ensure that the abducted Chibok girls are rescued from the captivity of Boko Haram.
This followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Asabe Vilita (Borno APC), who disclosed that 17 parents of the abducted girls have died since their abduction.
Political observers are of the view that the latest drama between BBOG protesters and pro-Buhari group is a very strong indication that the romance between the APC and BBOG campaigners is over. While BBOG are being harassed in Abuja, APC leaders were dancing at campaign rally in Benin City after handing down instructions to secure operatives to keep them as far away from the presidential villa as possible.
Certainly, the APC now appears to perceive their former allies in BBOG as “nuisance” to their administration, more so, after some of the BBOG leaders have been “settled” with juicy appointments. Former minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili is today the engine room for the campaign to bring back the abducted Chibok girls. Nigerians shudder to think of what will become of the group if the APC-led administration succeeds in “settling” Ezekwesili like the other co-founder of BBOG.

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