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Monday, 19 May 2014

#BringBackOurGirls Protesters Set To March on to The Presidential Villa


Presidency is weighing whether or not to receive #BringBackOurGirls protesters planning a march on the seat of government.
Also, security has been strengthened in Chibok where 276 students of the Government Girls Secondary School were abducted.
Troops have been deployed to protect the community and the 53 girls who escaped the abduction.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the BringBackOurGirls has written the Presidency of its plans to take its campaign to the Presidential Villa.
It was learnt that the request letter was sent to the government early last week.
The campaign train may hit the seat of government on Thursday, if it is acceptable to the presidency.
It was gathered that the proposed march on Aso Rock was to dismiss the notion that the movement was being used for political purposes by the opposition.
The march is also designed to hear from the President what his administration has done to rescue the abducted girls.
The decision to march on Aso Rock was taken at the group’s sit-out on Saturday in Abuja.
One of the coordinators of the BringBackOurGirls, Hadiza Bala Usman, said: “We are talking of our protest march to Mr. President which we plan do on Thursday.
“We have written a letter to Mr. President, we are hopeful he would grant us audience. We intend to go to the Presidential Villa
“”We maintain our issue; we have refused to allow any politics or religious affiliations to come into the group. We have maintained our neutrality.”
The presidency is said to be weighing its options – whether or not to allow the team to be at the Villa.
“There are arguments for and against the request,” an official said, pleading for anonymity because he is not allowed to talk to the media.
According to him, it is thought that since the group had visited National Assembly leaders, there was no point duplicating functions because “the government is one”.
The source added: “Also, the government is uncomfortable with the activities of the group, especially the involvement of some Nigerians who have been critical of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“At a point, the First Lady advised women not to join the mass movement. Last week, security agencies tried to stop the movement from holding its sit-out at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.”
Security is said to have been strengthened in Chibok to protect the community and the 53 girls who escaped from Boko Haram enclave.
A military source said troops had been deployed in the area to prevent any recourse to reprisals from Boko Haram following the global protest against the abduction of the 276 girls.
“We are aware that 53 of the girls who escaped have been reunited with their families. This is why we have placed the town under heavy surveillance,” a military source said.
The Defence Headquarters yesterday cautioned journalists and visitors from going to operation areas in the Northeast including Chibok and Sambisa forest.
A statement by the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said: “The Defence Headquarters has noted the presence of a large number of tourists, journalists and adventurers of diverse interests moving about in areas where security operations are currently ongoing especially in Adamawa and Borno states, without the necessary security cover or clearance.
“This trend constitutes unnecessary risk to the persons especially the foreigners involved.  It is also an undue obstruction to operations.
“Much as the military has nothing to hide and believes in the freedom of movement in the country, the need for all persons to recognise the status of certain places as operational area is hereby reiterated.
“Anyone violating the existing procedures for coverage or movement in the mission area does so at his or her own peril as the security forces should not be held responsible for any unsavory outcome of such movement.
“Necessary arrangement will continue to be made for the protection of persons and visitors whose movement is duly vetted and in line with development in the security situation on ground in particular mission area.
“The general public is hereby informed that obstructive, suspicious or risky movement of visitors will not be condoned in any mission and operational area in the country.”
Former Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili in a tweet yesterday confirmed a plan to march on the Villa. She said “We are continuing plans for our next march for our #ChibokGirls that will take us to our President & Commander-in-Chief in the next few days”.

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