Some parents of the abducted girls came to Abuja to see Malala, the education advocate.
After over three months of refusing to visit the parents of the over 250 girls abducted by members of the Boko Haram sect from Chibok in Borno State, the president will on July 22 host the girls’ parents.
This was made known by the spokesperson of the Kibaku Chibok Area Development Association, Dauda Iliya, on Wednesday at the Shehu Yar’Adua centre in Abuja.
Mr. Iliya said that the association got a letter of invitation from the presidency on Wednesday morning.
The president’s decision to host the parents is coming only three days after Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage activist, convinced him to see the parents of girls.
“We just got the letter at around 11 a.m. this morning from the (Presidential) Villa. it came as a unilateral form of communication,” Mr. Iliya said.
He said the Kibak Chibok Area Development Association was authorised to speak on behalf of the 12 fathers and five Chibok girls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity and were hosted by Malala during her visit to Nigeria.
Mr. Iliya also explained the alleged refusal of parents of the abducted girls to visit the president.
He said the parents and the escapees did not come to Abuja on the instance of the Nigerian government but for a meeting with Malala.
The meeting with Malala, Mr. Iliya said, was facilitated by the Abuja Chibok community and the citizens’ platform of #BringBackOurGirls.
Mr. Iliya stated that during the course of interactions with Malala, neither the parents nor the girls who escaped asked for a meeting with the president or any government functionary. They rather asked why the president refused to visit them in Chibok since the abduction.
“The parents were not allowed to make any decision. It was when they were on the stage that the information came that the president will be meeting with you, not that the president is asking to meet you”, he explained.
President Jonathan has been criticised for his handling of the Chibok kidnap and his refusal to visit the community and the parents of the victims wince the April 14 incident.
Over 200 of the girls are still with Boko Haram.