Members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, have joined a tour organized by the Nigerian government to the former bastion of Boko Haram terrorists, the Sambisa Forest located in the northeast.
Four members of the group including its convener, Obiageli Ezekwesili, rescinded an earlier decision to have the guided tour postponed. They joined a team including the Army, selected journalists and government officials on Monday morning for the tour.
The government last week invited BBOG to join its tour of Sambisa Forest in order for the group to have first-hand experience relative to efforts being made to rescue the remaining Chibok Girls.
The group had earlier requested a pre-tour meeting with government officials and the retraction of slanderous comments the Army Chief is said to have made about their work. The government said it was unable to meet the conditions before the group belatedly revised its position and agreed to join.
‘‘The trip being planned by the military will see the Ministers of Defence and Information, the Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Army Staff joining the invited BBOG members and a select group of journalists,’‘ the letter from government read.
As part of the itinerary, the team will visit the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Command Center in the capital of Adamawa State. They will also join day and night sorties on a tour into the forest. The Army late last year declared the takeover of the place known to be the headquarters of Boko Haram insurgents.
The BBOG group was set up in 2014 following the abduction by Boko Haram of over 200 school girls from Chibok, a town located in Nigeria’s Borno State. They have since been pushing government to increase efforts aimed at rescuing the girls.
Under the current government, 21 girls have been released based on negotiation with Boko Haram whiles another three have been rescued by the Nigerian Army. BBOG recently marked a week of activities to commemorate 1000 days in captivity for the remaining 195 girls.
Photo Credit: Olola Seun Akioye