Chibok girls’ parents: we never requested to visit Aso Villa
Representatives of the Chibok community in Abuja have said the 12 fathers and five girls who spoke with Pakistani girl-child education activist Malala Yousafzai never requested to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan or any government official.
The Borno State indigenes said they only received the invitation to meet with the President yesterday after the girls and the parents had returned to Chibok.
The parents were said to have been invited through a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Chibok community in Abuja, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President.
The community described as “unfounded” the Presidency’s accusation that the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners discouraged the parents from meeting with the President.
A statement yesterday in Abuja by the Abuja Chibok Community spokesman Dauda Iliya, said: “These parents and escaped girls did not come to Abuja at the instance of government or its representatives for a meeting with Mr. President but on the full understanding that they were coming to meet with Malala, an advocate of girl-child education and, most importantly, one who has suffered a similar fate as their daughters.
“In the course of their interactions with Malala, neither the parents nor the escaped girls asked for a meeting with the President or any government functionary. Rather, the narrative back home was to persistently ask why the President had not visited them in Chibok since the abduction.
“It is obvious that 12 fathers and five girls only constitute about two per cent of the parents of the abducted schoolgirls and the 57 girls that escaped. Therefore, the parents decided on their own to review the announced visit, which they first heard of, like every other person, during Malala’s speech.
“This resulted in their decision to revert to other family members to incorporate every stakeholder on the matter as well as avoid discord and suspicion on the change of plans from the original mission to Abuja. They reached out to the Malala team and, through them, to the Presidency, to request for a new date for an expanded and more representative meeting …to meet with the President.
“Their request is also in recognition of the huge opportunity of a meeting with the President for the first time, after over 90 days of the tragic abduction.
“…The community, therefore, required better consultations, structure and formality, as against an instant advocacy request.
“It is totally misleading, unjust and without foundation to hold the citizens’ platform #BringBackOurGirls or any individual responsible for the decision made by the 12 parents and our community. We, therefore, take full responsibility for our decision and welcome the formal invitation by the President as a follow-up to the Malala’s visit which we received this morning.”
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