President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday told the parents of the missing Chibok girls that he did not know where their daughters were.
The parents, 136 of them, together with members of the Bringbackourgirls (BBOG) movement, converged on the banquet hall of the presidential villa, seeking answers to the whereabouts of the 219 missing schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno state. But they were shocked and broken when the president told them in unequivocal terms that he did not have any information on their whereabouts.
Speaking with TheCable shortly after a 45-minute meeting with the president that journalists were barred from attending, Aisha Yesufu, a leader of the BBOG movement, said that the advocacy group would keep demanding the safe rescue of the girls from the government.
“The president said he had no credible intelligence on the missing Chibok girls. He said he is somebody who does not lie. And he will not start by lying,” Yesufu said.
“We are not saying the president should lie, but when you are saying there is no credible intelligence, and that the girls are scattered and married off; then how do we know? These are two things.
“And he said it (abduction of the Chibok girls) happened during the last administration. I find it very worrisome. I remember one of the parents asked what he meant by saying it happened in the last administration. Does it mean the girls will not be rescued?
“I would like the president to know that there is no vacuum in government. That it happened during the last administration is not an excuse. It is duty of the Nigerian government to ensure that the Chibok girls are rescued. It is their right and not a privilege. And where we have failed there is a need for us to apologise.
“As for me, I was terribly sad and shocked because the president did not look at the parents to say ‘we are sorry as a nation for your children who have been abducted for 21 months’.
“The president finished his speech, he dropped the microphone and walked out. And I thought that could have been a moment for him to connect with the parents.
“We will continue our campaign. We do not care who the head of the government is. It is duty of the Nigerian government to rescue the Chibok and we will continue making our demands. The government should stop the excuses.”
Earlier, the president had ordered journalists out of the venue of the meeting because of its “sensitive” nature.