The #BringBackOurGirls (#BBOG) group has accused the Presidency of trampling on its members’ rights by allegedly attacking them with police and preventing them from their regular sit-outs.
The group, which was allegedly attacked by policemen with teargas on Monday at the Unity fountain, also accused the police of confiscating their chairs.
Leaders of the group, former Minister of Education Oby Ezekwesili, Aisha Yesufu and Florence Ozor, in a statement yesterday, said the group has witnessed repressive attacks from the police force since April 19, 2018.
The statement reads: “Our #BringBackOurGirls movement is widely acknowledged for the civil and decorous advocacy. We have used our daily sit-outs since April 30, 2014 to sustain our demand for justice of rescue for our 219 #ChibokGirls, who were abducted from their school in Borno State on April 14, 2014.
“Inexplicably, on April 13, 2018, being the eve of the tragic commemoration of the fourth year since the abduction of our remaining 112 Chibok Girls, the gun-wielding Nigeria Police men in their hundreds attacked and prevented our members from holding our daily sit-outs at our usual advocacy space on the grounds of Unity Fountain in Abuja. The police confiscated and took away our chairs, manhandled members of our movement, and shot canisters of tear gas at our peaceful assembly without any cause.
“The next day, April 14 2018, we marked the fourth year of the tragedy of our #ChibokGirls abduction with our second Annual #ChibokGirls Distinguished Lecture at the Yar’adua Centre, following which we decided to suspend our daily sit-outs for 72 hours.”
It added: “Our decision was intended to give the Presidency, the Federal Government, and the Nigeria Police reasonable time to reflect on and redress the provocative violation of our constitutionally-guaranteed rights to freedoms of association, peaceful assembly, movement, thought and conscience, as well as that of expression. We had, therefore, hoped that following the three-day suspension of our activities, we would resume our sit-outs on April 19, without any further attacks from the Nigeria Police and that our chairs would be returned to the location.
“Sadly, since resuming our daily meetings at the Unity Fountain three days later, on April 19, 2018, the police continued to prevent us from holding our sit-outs and kept up with attacks on our members.”
The group said there was no justification for the attacks being launched against its movement, “which appears intended to shut us down from demanding accountability for our abducted fellow citizens from the Presidency and the Federal Government”.
It vowed that its members would not cease advocating until all the “girls are back and/or accounted for and closure given to their parents”.