By Oladapo Okeowo
The advocacy group, Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG), has been urged by the FG to avoid taking a confrontational stance against the government in the search for the missing Chibok girls.
The group was asked to see the government as a partner in the venture and not as its adversary in its quest to obtain the safe return of the girls to their families.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, expressed his surprise at media reports that credited BBOG with saying it would no longer accept “delays and excuses” from President Muhammadu Buhari on the release of the missing Chibok girls.
According to him, it is more surprising especially in light of the recent invite extended to the group by Nigerian Airforce (NAF).
He said: “The Federal Government had tried to carry the group along in the search for the girls. The recent invitation extended to them by the Nigerian Air Force was a clear indication that government was transparent.It came to us as a surprise that despite the group’s initial positive report on the tour, it had again reverted to its confrontational role. The BBOG should limit its role as an advocacy group rather than pretending to be an opposition party. The synonyms of the word “advocacy do not include antagonism, opposition or attack.”
The minister said taking an adversarial stance would be counter-productive and in a state of pique, asked that they direct their impudent language towards the outgone administration which refused to do acknowledge that the girls had been kidnapped nor did anything in the first 500 days of the girls’ abduction and not Buhari’s administration which has liberated captured territories, re-opened schools and roads, and obtained the release of some of the Chibok girls..
Mohammed called for calm and patience regarding the issue as he said the government has not toned down its efforts to rescue the girls but he can not give details so as not to jeopardise the process.
“Let me say unequivocally that the people involved in the negotiations are working round the clock, but the discussions are complicated and any wrong signal could derail the process. We need confidence-building like the type that led to the earlier release of some of the girls. Unfortunately, this had been lacking for years, but we are confident that we are on the right track.
“We won’t do anything to jeopardize these talks, irrespective of the pressure or provocation from any quarter,” he said.