*We Will Find The Girls Alive—Buhari *FG Jettisons Safe School Initiative
Agonising parents of the abducted Chibok school girls and Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigners were on Thursday barred from gaining access to the Presidential Villa where they had hoped to brief the world about their plight.
But the Police and Department of State Security (DSS) authorities who carried out the order not to allow the protesters into the Villa hinged it on security reasons.
Although the protesters were aware that the president was still on his state visit to China, the BBOG campaigners had marched from their usual sit out location at the Unity Fountain, near Transcorp Hilton Hotel to the Presidential Villa where they met stiff resistance by anti-riot police officers.
Grace Longe, Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Asokoro Police Station, led the police team.
The BBOG campaigners, however, said their hope still lies on President Muhammadu Buhari to help them rescue the remaining 219 girls from their abductors.
April 14 marks two years since the girls were abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok by the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
The Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA) which is the host community of Chibok in Borno State, recounted their ordeal since the girls went missing.
Tsambido Abana, who spoke on their behalf, said four parents of the abducted girls had been killed by the Boko Haram sect in series of attacks launched by the terrorists, while seven others had died due to trauma related ailments.
“Despite the gloomy picture of what is happening in the community, we are still hopeful that our girls will come back alive. We are hopeful that Mr. President will keep his word, which he expressed at different occasions starting with his inaugural speech where he said the war on terror will not be said to have been successfully prosecuted without the rescue of the Chibok girls.”
Abana also gave indications that the Federal Government had abandoned the Safe School Initiative Project, instituted by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
“A project worth mentioning today is the Chibok burnt school, the school where the girls were abducted is yet to be constructed over one year of the widely published reconstruction foundation-laying by the former government,” the group noted.
The BBOG said the government should make good its promise of taking care of the welfare of the parents through the Ministry of Women Affairs as made during the visit of the parents to Mr. President in January 2016.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has assured parents and relations of the kidnapped Chibok girls that he shares in their pain and grief.
He said he frequently reflects on the ordeal of the captives in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists and shares the pain of their continued absence from home.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to Buhari on Media and Publicity, expressed the president’s grief.
Buhari said: “As a parent and leader of the country, I understand the torment, frustration and anxiety of the parents and will not spare any effort to ensure the safe return of the girls.
“With the total commitment of the Federal Government, Nigerian Armed Forces and security agencies, and the support of the international community, the girls will be eventually rescued.
“It is worthy to note that thousands of persons, mostly women and children, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, have already been rescued and reunited with their families”.
The president also assured the parents that government and security agencies were exploring all possible options for the safe return of the girls.
He urged the parents to continue to exercise patience and understanding as the government works diligently to ensure that the girls return home unharmed.