FG rejects BBOG conditions for joining Chibok girls' search mission

By The Citizen

The Federal Government has rejected the conditions given by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group for joining the search party for missing Chibok girls in Sambisa Forest.

In a letter addressed to the group's convener, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, which was made available to reporters yesterday, the government said it was unable to postpone the trip as scheduled.

The letter dated January 14 was signed by Minister of Information and Culture  Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

''Thank you for your letter, dated January 13, which is in response to ours of January 11, requesting that we change the date of the proposed guided tour of the Northeast to accommodate a Pre-Tour Meeting between your organisation and some top officials of the Federal Government.

''We have also noted the conditions you gave for embarking on the trip, which include the said Pre-Tour Meeting and the retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, which the #BBOG finds to be slanderous.

''We regret, however, to inform you that we are unable to postpone the trip as scheduled. ''

The government insisted the team would proceed on the trip today as scheduled because of the narrow window available to have a good weather on the day.

It said payment for the satellite downlink streaming of the mission had been made for the day and shifting the date would require another round of booking to secure such a slot.

The government added that apart from the BBOG members, local and international journalists had been invited for the trip, while some preparations had been made by the military.

It noted that the remarks purportedly made by the Chief of Army Staff and the request for a meeting with its certain top officials were irrelevant to its request for the BBOG to join in the search mission.

The government stressed that it extended the invitation to the BBOG  in recognition of the group's commitment to the safe release of the Chibok girls in captivity and interest in the welfare of those who had been released.

''We hope that the BBOG will drop its conditions and join the trip, which shows the commitment of the Federal Government to securing freedom for the Chibok girls and its transparency in handling the issues of the girls. ''

The government, in a letter dated January 11, invited members of BBOG to a short trip in a military operational flight into Sambisa Forest in search of the missing Chibok girls.

In the letter, the government asked the BBOG to nominate three of its members to join on the guided trip, from which two would join the sorties due to limited seats on the search plane.

The government had stated that the trip would avail the BBOG the opportunity to witness and better understand the efforts being made to secure the freedom of the girls and other victims of Book Haram terrorists.

The BBOG, in its reply to the invitation, requested the government to meet certain conditions before the tour and also demanded for a change in the scheduled date. - The Nation.