The #BringBackOurGirls group has said it is ready for a debate with Nigeria’s defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, on any of the group’s monitoring, assessment and analysis of military’s war against Boko Haram insurgents and the rescue of the 219 girls abducted in April, 2014 by Boko Haram terrorists.
In response to Mr. Olukolade’s letter to the group on its unfairness in judging the military, #BBOG’s convener, Obiageli Ezekwesili, said the group was open to any instance or episode of factual inaccuracy from the group’s monitoring and assessment of military statements in the counter-terrorism operations.
The group said the general’s allegation that an unnamed person out of animosity was using the platform to antagonize him and some other officers in the military, was unfounded.
Ms. Ezekwesili said the group is a citizens-led movement with open membership of all citizens who choose to identify with the rescue of the over 200 girls abducted by insurgents in their hostels from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, at night.
She said no particular individual or group within the group can define the direction or position of our Movement on the issues we advocate.
“In our public and private communication, we are also guided by our rule of highest respect for adherence to the sanctity of facts or empirical evidence rather than anecdotes,” Ms. Ezekwesili said.
“Our communications- statements, briefs, member representations – all pass through one of the strongest internal quality control process to ensure accuracy in our messages.”
She added that the group’s purpose remained advocacy for the rescue of the abducted Chibok girls and many other victims of the terrorist attacks in the North Eastern region of Nigeria.
On the group’s monitoring and report as faulted by Mr. Olukolade, the convener of the #BringBackOurGirls group said as a citizens’ movement, the group is a demand for accountability from the federal government.
She said, “We therefore stand by all our analyses and assessments as conveyed in our statements. This explains why, so far, we have never had to recant, deny, or apologize for any statements we have made in the more than one year of our advocacy.
“Everyone who has followed our public statements will confirm that we have never failed to acknowledge and commend our military; especially our ground troops at all times that they have achieved success. We were very public with our commendations of the military at various times for reclaiming our territories occupied by insurgent. We were overjoyed and commended the military for the recent rescue of nearly 1000 of our fellow citizens previously in terrorist captivity.”
The group recalled the agreement with the defence chief’s team on May 6, 2014 to maintain a civil-military relationship and democratic accountability by hosting the group to a regular meeting to keep it abreast of military’s efforts in rescuing the girls and the country’s counter terrorism fight.
“It is regrettable that subsequently following that agreement, none of such meetings ever happened again and that instead, our attempt to participate in your National Information Centre briefings was frustrated and then prohibited,” she said.
The group, however, said it was open to a review the idea of a mutually productive interface between its movement and the military/ security establishments/government so as to collaborate on the counter- insurgency war going forward.
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