“It is Totally Misleading, Unjust”, Chibok Parents React to Presidency’s Claim over Meeting with Jonathan
Parents of the over 200 girls abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State has reacted to the allegation of the Presidency that they shunned a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on the prompting of the Nigeria Chapter of the Bring Back Our Girls group.
The parents in a press statement written on their behalf by the Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association (Kada), described as totally misleading, unjust and without foundation, the claim by the presidency that the BringBackOurGirls group is responsible for their decision to shelve the meeting with the president.
The Presidency had yesterday cancelled the meeting with the parents of the abducted girls after they refused to turn up for the meeting scheduled for 4pm at the presidential villa.
In doing that however, the presidency heaped the blame of the botched meeting on the opposition and particularly the Bring Back Our Girls Movement.
But KADA in its statement on behalf of the parents said the decision was made by the 12 parents the president was scheduled having consulted with their community in Chibok on the need for the President not only to meet with other parents of the abducted girls, but to prevail on him to visit the parents in Chibok after over 90 days that their daughters were abducted.
The statement reads:
We the members of the Kibaku (Chibok) Community and representatives of the 12 fathers and 5 escaped girls who were hosted by Malala during her visit to Nigeria hereby speak on their behalf to offer to Nigerians the facts as they are and to put the records straight and correct the erroneous impression making rounds in the media on the botched meeting with the President:
1. The logistics and meeting between the twelve (12) fathers and five (5) girls and Malala was facilitated by the Abuja Chibok Community and the Citizens platform of BringBackOurGirls with our consent and on TRUST considering their sustained and focused advocacy to Bring Back our daughters.
2. These parents and escaped girls did not come to Abuja at the instance of government or its representatives for a meeting with Mr. President but on the full understanding that they were coming to meet with Malala; an advocate of girl child education and most importantly one who has suffered a similar fate as their daughters’.
3. That in the course of the interactions with Malala, NEITHER the parents nor the escaped girls asked for a meeting with the President or any government functionary, rather the narrative back home was to persistently ask why the President has not visited them in Chibok since the abduction.
4. It is obvious that their numbers of 12 fathers and 5 girls is about 2% of the parents of the 219 abducted girls still with their abductors and the 57 girls that escaped. Therefore, these parents DECIDED on their own accord to review the announced visit, which they FIRST heard of like every other person during Malala speech in Hilton.
5. That consequent to their decision to revert to other family members in order to incorporate every stakeholder on the matter as well as avoid discord and suspicion on a change of plans from the original mission to Abuja, they reached out to the Malala team and through them to the Presidency; to request for a new date for an expanded and more representative meeting that has a legitimate mandate to meet with the President.
6. That their request is also in recognition of the huge opportunity of a meeting with the President for the first time and after over 90 days of the tragic abduction of their daughters, and therefore required better consultations, structure and formality as against an instant advocacy request.
7. That it is totally misleading, unjust and without foundation to hold the Citizens’ platform BringBackOurGirls responsible for the decision made by the 12 parents and our community. We therefore take full responsibility for our decision and welcome the formal invitation by the Presidency as a follow up to Malala’s visit which we received this morning.
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