The #BringBackOur Girls (BBOG) group has called on the Federal Government to set up a commission of inquiry on the abduction of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls from their school on May 14, last year and the failure of the government to rescue the 219 still missing among them till date.
Dr Oby Ezekwesili and Hadiza Bala Usman, leaders of the group, in a statement, said the commission of inquiry will investigate and report the security and operational lapses and failures that enabled the abduction of over 276 girls by the Boko Haram sect.
The setting up of the commission is among the suggested mechanisms for the Federal Government’s continuous engagement with the families of the abducted girls, as well as the general public, which the group said will also help to correct such security lapses and plug the necessary holes and leakages in order to prevent any of such event happening again in the country.
“The setting up of a commission of inquiry for accountability on the abduction and rescue of the Chibok girls, will investigate and report on the security and operational lapses and failures that enabled the abduction of close to 300 girls in an operation within a state of emergency. So that such lapses can be corrected and the necessary holes and leakages plugged, and the public release of the reports of the Presidential Fact Finding Committee on the Chibok girls and the Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North-east,” it said.
BBOG, among other things, also proposed the implementation of the Verification, Authentication and Re-unification System (VARS) to verify, and register all displaced persons in Nigeria, collate information on missing persons and re-unite families once missing persons are found.
It proposed the development of an accountability machinery, which will define the protocols for obtaining information as well as sharing relevant and timely information with citizens.
“As we await the constitution of all the mechanisms and platforms, we will remain stoic in our efforts at ensuring that the Federal government keeps the promise it made to us during our July 8 meeting.
“We consider the December deadline for decimating Boko Haram as a strong indicator of seriousness to tackle terrorism and bring back our girls, considering that the President in his inaugural speech had indicated that ‘we cannot say we have succeeded against the terrorists until we bring back our girls.’
“Recognising the renewed promises made by the President of Nigeria, we use the occasion of Day 500 since the abduction to seek tangible information from government to provide re-assurance to the parents and families of the missing chibok Girls and every other abducted persons in Nigeria that the government is committed and working assiduously to ensure their rescue.
“We specifically call government’s attention to the plight of parents of the abducted chibok girls. News reports indicate that 15 of these parents have died while they waited endlessly for the rescue and return of their girls. We urge government to continuously engage the parents, meet their basic needs as well as provide psychosocial support on an ongoing basis.
“Wherever you may be around the world, we urge you to join us in declaring that our innocent Chibok girls who are global citizens crying to be rescued, must never be forgotten. We cannot afford to move on without a positive closure on this monumental tragedy that befell young women who went to school to be educated,” the group said.