The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group has accused the Nigerian military of blocking some parents of the 219 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 from partaking in a planned protest scheduled for Thursday.
The group, in a statement by its spokesperson, Sesugh Akume, said over 120 parents of the 219 abducted girls embarked on a journey to Abuja on January 12.
It added that the women boarded seven buses from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, but were stopped at two checkpoints (in Chibok and Askira), with only two of the buses allowed to proceed to Abuja.
“Towards our earlier announced march together with the parents of our abducted Chibok girls and the Chibok community to re-engage with the president on the matter of their rescue this Thursday 14 January, a delegation of parents left Chibok this morning Tuesday 12 January for a 2-day journey to Abuja,” the statement said.
“Despite their meagre income, the over 120 parents were determined and paid the bus fare from Chibok to enable them to partake in the march to re-engage with the president after the first meeting of 8 July 2015.
“However, only this evening, we were again informed that the checkpoint officers in Askira had allowed only four of the busload of parents and held back three but we can factually confirm that five buses in all were held back: two in Chibok and three in Askira.”
The group later told PREMIUM TIMES that it was informed by the military that some of the buses were blocked due to security concerns concerning the gathering of “such a crowd in the face of the current security situations.”
“Whilst we appreciate the legitimate safety concerns, we are convinced however that it could have been better handled with dignified treatment of parents who have been heartbroken over the last 638 days of their daughters’ captivity,” the group said.
The group demanded a public apology, and a commitment from the military to produce the parents in Abuja for the proposed protest.