Eight weeks have passed and over 20 girls from Chibok Secondary School, Borno abducted from their school dormitory by Boko Haram insurgents – are still missing.
Here, ENCOMIUM Weekly brings you a timeline of events surrounding the Chibok girls in the past week…
MONDAY, 2 JUNE 2014
Parents of abducted girls beg FG to negotiate with Boko Haram
Some parents of the abducted Chibok school girls are begging the Federal Government to accept the deal of terrorist sect, Boko Haram, to swap girls with detained Boko Haram members.
It was reported that President Goodluck Jonathan had rejected the swap deal, following warnings by his counterparts who told him of the danger of such move at a recent summit in Paris, France.
Mr. Wasau, one of the parents of the abducted girls, said: “Since the abductors have agreed to a prisoner swap, all we can do is beg the government to accept the offer so that our daughters can come back alive.”
Another parent, Lawal Zannah, said that the government’s refusal to negotiate showed that they do not care. One parent, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, queried the federal government on the setting up of a ‘fact-finding’ committee. He questioned the move by the FG., saying that the government still isn’t convinced that the girls were really kidnapped; if not…”there would be no need for a fact-finding committee. What is the fact?” he said.
Meanwhile, recent reports have revealed that the F.G’s secret negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis, has fallen ill and needs medical attention.
FCT Police ban protests over Chibok girls
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police (CP), Joseph Mbu, on Monday, June 2, 2014, banned all protests aimed at rescuing the release of over 200 girls abducted on April 14 by Boko Haram insurgents. Mbu, who announced the ban at a news conference in Abuja, said that the trend of protests was posing a serious security threat. Mbu, a former Rivers State CP, said that information at his disposal indicated that some dangerous elements were about to hijack the protests.
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014
Australia offers Special Forces to rescue Chibok girls
Australian authorities on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, offered to deploy the country’s special forces to help Nigerian government in the Chibok girls find-and-rescue operation.
Speaking with Sky News, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Boshop, said that they had not received any clear response to their offer yet.
Leader of Australia’s Green Party, holding the minority seats in the parliament, Christine Milne, expressed shock over the abduction and urged the Nigerian authorities to provide more detailed information to them before Australia sends troops to Africa.
I.G of Police overrules ban on
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, overruled the ban on Abuja #BringBackOurGirls protests.
It would be recalled that the FCT’s Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, had announced on Monday, June 2, 2014, a ban on Chibok school girl’s protests, which caused public outrage. Abubakar stated that police authorities had not issued any order banning peaceful protests anywhere in Nigeria. He further cleared the air, saying that police authorities only issued an advisory notice, urging citizens to be cautious during their rallies.
He also noted that Nigerians have the democratic right to conduct peaceful rallies.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, 2014
FG denies rejecting Australia’s support, says all options to free girls are being considered
National Information Centre, on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, refuted a report suggesting that it turned down Australia’s offer to send its Special Air Services to help in finding the abducted Chibok girls.
Coordinator of NIC, Mr. Mike Omeri, who led other members of the centre during the regular media briefing on efforts to find the girls and combat terrorism, said the reports were mere newspaper speculations.
Omeri, however, said that Nigeria would consider any fair offer to help either in locating and rescuing the girls or in combating terrorism in the country. The NIC appealed to individuals and organizations to assist the federal government in providing relief materials to displaced and distressed Nigerians affected by the insurgency in the north.
THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 2014
Presidential Committee on Chibok abduction denies allegation of manipulation
The Presidential fact-finding committee on the April 14 Chibok abduction, on Thursday, June 5, 2014, denied the allegation that the Presidency was out to frustrate and manipulate its report.
This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja by Mr. Kinglsey Osadolor, the spokesperson of the committee.
It said that the committee had read recent reports insinuating that the Presidency was on a mission to either frustrate or manipulate the report. The statement stated that no Presidency official had been privy to the minutes of the proceedings of the committee since it began work, following its inauguration on May 6, 2014.
The statement added that the committee was now on the last leg of its assignment.
FG confirms receiving new Chibok girls video
The Presidency on Thursday, June 5, 2014, confirmed receiving new video showing the abducted Chibok school girls pleading with President Jonathan to help rescue them from their Boko Haram abductors.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, made the confirmation in an interview with Cable News Network (CNN).
The British Mail newspaper, had on Sunday, June 1, 2014, reported that the video was delivered to the Presidency by a Boko Haram intermediary as proof of life for the girls and to encourage the President to accept the sect’s demands.
Officials had initially denied the existence of this video, but Dr. Okupe told CNN that he had seen the video in which the girls were pleading to be freed.
FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 2014
FG: Force would not be given priority
The Federal Government said on Friday, June 6, 2014, that the process of rescuing the abducted Chibok schoolgirls could be hard and time consuming, saying the use of force would not be given priority.
Mike Omeri, coordinator of the National Information Centre, stated this at a news conference held in Abuja.
Omeri said to curtail the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, the military high command had met with the leadership of the United States Interdisciplinary team for assistance to Nigeria.
Omeri, however, said that the confiscation of some newspapers by the military had nothing to do with the content, operation of media organizations or their personnel, adding that the exercise was just a routine security action and should not be misconstrued for any other motive. It would be recalled that four newspaper houses claimed that soldiers stopped and seized copies of their editions on Thursday, June 5, 2014, over security concerns, with one likening the raids to censorship during the country’s military rule.
The national dailies affected are, The Punch, The Daily Trust and The Leadership.
SATURDAY, JUNE 7, 2014
Badeh: War against terrorism is winnable despite community challenges
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshall Alex Badeh, said that despite the challenges of intelligence gathering confronting the military in areas of operation in North-East Nigeria, the war against terrorism is certainly winnable.
He said this in an interview with ThisDay at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja, adding that information is passed on to Boko Haram by people in communities in their areas of operation. And this was a factor militating against the on-going campaign against terrorism.
He further revealed that some of the people in communities where soldiers are deployed see the military as enemies, and specifically noted that there were a lot of Boko Haram sympathizers in Borno.
He also noted that government was however making efforts to win the hearts of the people in those areas but said efforts made in the past had been frustrated by Boko Haram.