Ezekwesili: Buhari Leaving Chibok Girls’ Freedom to Boko Haram


The leader of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has said the recent comment credited to President Muhammadu Buhari on his administration’s readiness to negotiate with Boko Haram, is not sufficient.

In a recent video clip, the insurgents had  demanded that their members held in detention by the federal government should be swapped for the abducted girls.

Speaking to journalists yesterday Ezekwesili explained that the president needed to take the matter “hands-on” to determine the steps on the closure of the matter, rather pinning the responsibility of securing the girls’ freedom on Boko Haram.

“What we have heard has been a lot of tentativeness, at the recent development where our president said that he is ready to do a prisoner swap and that Boko Haram can nominate an international NGO to intermediate that,” Ezekwesili said.

“As far as we are concerned, that’s not sufficient. What our president needs to do is to take this matter hands-on and to determine a lot of the steps towards any kind of closure on this matter.

“Every time a statement comes out of the federal government, it is tentative. Every time a statement comes out that seems to put responsibility on those who are holding our children, it just makes us feel the kind of decisiveness and the engagement that we should see coming out of this; it is not happening.”

The former Minister of Education, according to The Cable, stated that the government ought to be in control in determining the methods by which the girls would be rescued.

“We should be determining a lot of things whether it is military operation, whether it is negotiation, if it’s the combination of military operations and negotiation, we should be in the driver seat of this,” she added.

“We are not leaving it to for actions that come from the other end; we must take charge; we are the nation-state. Our girls are out there in the wild with men of dishonourable intent; we must take charge.”

Also speaking to journalists, Aisha Yesufu, another leader of the group, said Buhari’s willingness to swap the Boko Haram prisoners to get the Chibok girls rescued should not just be said but action should his words.

“It is not about saying the words, but a sign of meaning what you are saying,” Yesufu said.
“What is about saying that an international terrorists should go and look for an international NGO. What does that mean we are the ones that have been working so hard to ensure that our daughters are released.”

The movement later embarked on a “silent” processional demonstration in which they used tapes to cover their mouths.
At the entrance of the Presidential Villa, they sat down on the ground in silence after they were for the third time barred from gaining entry.

ent to improving the education sector of our country is further expressed in the decline in the budgetary allocation to education from 11 per cent in 2015 to eight per cent in 2016 as opposed to the 26 per cent benchmark set by UNESCO. This is unacceptable to our union and must be addressed to halt the deterioration of facilities in Nigerian universities.”

The union also expressed concern over the non-implementation of and violations of the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement and subsequent MoUs arising from it; funding of state universities and breaches of the condition of service and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.

“The federal government freely entered into an agreement with our union in 2009 over funding of the universities, universities autonomy, and conditions of service and other miscellaneous issues confronting the Nigerian university system.

“In an effort to cause the FGN to fully implement the agreement, the union embarked on strike in 2012 and 2013, which led to the signing of MoU towards the effective implementation of the agreement. To date, several aspects of the agreement are yet to be implemented.”

It said some of the un-implemented aspects include Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO); funding of state universities; earned academic allowances; renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, which ought to be done every three years.

While expressing disappointment that the federal and state governments are not responding to its consistent appeals for reason to bring about genuine transformation, ASUU stressed that embarking on strike has never being a favoured choice, given that its members feel and suffer the most during and after every strike.

To forestall any avoidable crisis, it appealed to “all genuinely progressive individuals and groups to prevail on the government to arrest a brewing and potentially combustible situation in the Nigerian university system before it degenerates into a serious conflagration.”