Chronicle of false narratives and inconsistencies by the Nigerian government over the rescue of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls -by Sesugh Akume

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Chronicle of false narratives and inconsistencies by the Nigerian government over the rescue of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls -by Sesugh Akume

31 OCTOBER 2014: DAY 200 OF CHIBOK SCHOOLGIRLS ABDUCTION

16 April: Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade announces the rescue of “all 129 girls” except 8.

Note: Even the number 129 is false. The correct number is 276 abducted. 57 escaped through their self-effort. ‎219 are still missing

www.channelstv.com/2014/04/16/troops-free-girls-abducted-by-terrorists-in-chibok/

17 April: Major-General Chris Olukolade, Defence spokesman retracts the statement about the rescue.

m.aljazeera.com/se/20144185940910331

6 May: Presidency says helicopters, aeroplane [sic], 2 fighter jets, 2 special battalions devoted to search of abducted Chibok girls:

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/160293-chibok-schoolgirls-nigeria-deploys-two-special-battalions-search-okupe.html

www.today.ng/politics/our-president-is-not-a-showman-doyin-okupe/

14 May: Confusion/contradictions by top government officials on whether the federal government will negotiate with Boko Haram to release the girls or not:

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/160695-chibok-schoolgirls-confusion-as-nigerian-officials-contradict-selves-over-negotiation-with-boko-haram.html

15 May: President Jonathan to visit 1 month after the abduction. Presidential advance party leaves Abuja for Chibok:
https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/160800-update-jonathan-to-visit-chibok-one-month-after-abduction.html

thenationonlineng.net/new/jonathan-visits-chibok-friday/

16 May: President Jonathan fails to visit Chibok. Visit postponed indefinitely. No reasons are given to the anxiously waiting community:

www.vanguardngr.com/2014/05/jonathan-cancels-visit-chibok/

17 May: President Jonathan says in Paris that 20 000 troops have been deployed for the search and rescue of the Chibok girls.

Also says visit to Chibok is unnecessary, as it will not bring back the girls:

dailyindependentnig.com/2014/05/20000-troops-searching-abducted-girls-jonathan/

sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=64049

www.news247.com.ng/news/20000-troops-searching-for-chibok-girlsjonathan

19 May: Nigerian soldiers say they are ill-equipped, underpaid, unmotivated and losing morale to fight the insurgency or rescue the Chibok girls:

www.foxnews.com/world/2014/05/19/nigerian-soldier-says-army-that-would-face-boko-haram-is-ill-equipped-underpaid/

news.sky.com/story/1264168/nigerian-troops-cannot-take-on-terrorists

Note: Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno had stated so earlier in February 2014, but was under fire from the presidency for saying so:

m.aljazeera.com/se/2014217194247251822
https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/155704-jonathan-slams-borno-governor-over-comment-on-boko-haram.html

This ill-equipping, poor remuneration and low morale is in light of the fact that Nigeria’s Defence budget has been N921.91 billion in 2012, (that is approximately $5.7 billion. The highest sector in the 2012budget, and by far the highest in 42 years since the civil war, up from N348 billion in the preceding year, 2011). N348.91 billion in 2013; and N968.127 billion (representing 20% of the entire budget) in 2014.

21 May: Presidential fact-finding committee on the abduction, which had announced they shall be visiting Chibok the previous day, Monday, failed to show up and gave no reasons, and it is "insulting". The community and parents say. This is the second time being treated as such. The first was when the president was to visit. See 16 May:

www.thisdaylive.com/articles/chibok-parents-presidential-cttee-s-decision-to-shun-us-was-an-insult/179496/

www.dailytrust.com.ng/daily/news/30568-how-presidency-shared-money-to-chibok-parents-girls

22 May: With no military presence in sight in Sambisa Forest, or any evidence of a rescue operation; hundreds of local hunters from all around Borno volunteered to proceed on a rescue mission. Having been prevented by the government, after waiting for 17 days, depart for their respective homes:

sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=64996

www.thisdaylive.com/articles/traditional-hunters-ready-to-join-search-for-chibok-girls/178970/


23 May: Defence headquarters spokesperson Major-General Chris Olukolade denies there was any mutiny in Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri:

www.channelstv.com/2014/05/23/nigerian-army-denies-report-of-mutiny-in-maimalari-barracks/.

Note: 12 soldiers have been sentenced to death for mutiny over the same issue. Another set of 60 and 97 respectively have faced the general court martial for mutiny.

leadership.ng/news/384179/


25 May: Chibok girls will be back in a matter of days says the Director-General, National Orientation Agency; Chairman, National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, the official government spokesman on the issue:

www.vanguardngr.com/2014/05/closing-chibok-girls-abductors-fg/

26 May: Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh says they know where the Chibok girls are kept. Thereby confirming that the girls will be back in a matter of days:
www.punchng.com/news/we-know-where-chibok-girls-are-kept-military/

29 May: Presidency confirms location of Chibok girls:

 

tribune.com.ng/news/news-headlines/item/6612-presidency-confirms-location-of-chibok-girls/6612-presidency-confirms-location-of-chibok-girls

7 June: Omeri, official government security spokesman and head of the NIC is unsure where they are:

www.punchng.com/news/fg-moving-closer-to-finding-chibok-girls-omeri/

Note: This is close to 2 weeks after saying that they will be back in a matter of days, the CDS confirming the very next day, and 2 days later the presidency itself; that they know where they are

14 June: Senior Special Assistant to the President (Public Affairs), Dr Doyin Okupe, prophesies “as an oracle of Jehova God” that the girls will return in less than 1 month:

ynaija.com/god-shall-take-over-the-battle-doyin-okupe-goes-spiritual-prophesies-over-return-of-chibok-schoolgirls-tweets/

3 July: Chibok parents and community prevented from accessing Sambisa Forest to rescue daughters. As Defence spokesman Major-General Olukolade says the military is taking its time, in order to bring them back alive. This is 80 days of the abduction:

leadership.ng/news/376866/parents-chibok-girls-ready-die-sambisa-forest

15 July: Presidency says the #BringBackOurGirls movement prevented Chibok parents from seeing the president:

www.alashock.com/2014/07/doyin-okupe-lied-aso-rocks-letter-to.html?m=1

www.channelstv.com/2014/07/16/ezekwesili-stopped-chibok-community-from-seeing-jonathan-okupe/

m.voanews.com/a/nigeria-president-to-meet-parents-of-chibock-girls-next-week/1959073.html

22 July: Escapee Chibok girls, parents and leaders visit President Jonathan at the State House, Abuja. Jonathan promises to free the abducted alive and end the insurgency. To visit Chibok when they are back:

m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28418681

www.punchng.com/news/i-plan-to-visit-chibok-after-abducted-girls-freedom-jonathan/

29 July: Presidency denies bribing Chibok parents with N100 million:

www.thisdaylive.com/articles/presidency-denies-giving-n100-million-bribe-to-chibok-parents/184919/

30 July: Chibok nation says unbeknownst to them, the presidency did share cash to the visiting escapee Chibok girls and parents. The Senior Special Assistant to the President (Special Duties), Professor Dan Adebiyi did so independently in the wee hours of the morning, before their departure. The total amounted to N22.4 million:

www.dailytrust.com.ng/daily/news/30568-how-presidency-shared-money-to-chibok-parents-girls

dailypost.ng/2014/07/31/chibok-group-denies-receiving-n100m-says-jonathans-aide-gave-money-parents/

25 August: Nigerian troops engaged with Boko Haram flee into Cameroon. Defence headquarters calls it a "tactical manoeuvre".

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/opinion/167277-nigerian-military-calls-soldiers-escape-to-cameroon-tactical-manoeuvre.html

m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28927898


10 September: Even though a presidential aide promoted the obnoxious #BringBackJonathan2015 hashtag to mock the abducted Chibok girls, the presidency says it was unaware of its usage:

pulse.ng/gist/bringbackgoodluck2015-who-invented-controversial-slogan-id3120491.html

21 September: Conflicting reports over negotiations involving the Red Cross to secure release of girls:

www.punchng.com/news/boko-haram-red-cross-negotiates-chibok-girls-swap/

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/168629-exclusive-how-nigerian-govt-bungled-edwin-clark-led-fresh-negotiation-to-free-chibok-girls.html

23 September: Major-Gen Olukolade, Defence spokesman once again lies that Chibok girls were rescued and again retracted the statement. And in fact, denies ever saying so in the first place:

www.today.ng/news/chibok-girls-rescue-dhq-retracts-statement-says-its-not-sure-yet/

www.punchng.com/i-punch/bbc-journalists-nhrc-chair-tackle-olukolade-over-chibok-girls/

Note: The usual news cycle is thus: at the daily protest at Unity Fountain, the #BringBackOurGirls movement gets raw, unedited news either via phone call or from eye witnesses who come over to report. 24 hours later it's seen in the media online (many times edited). 2
days later it is in the print and electronic media. Then comes the spin, denials, rebuttals and/or outright lies from the government. For instance, the movement had been pre-informed of 2 Toyota Hiace buses with escapee Chibok schoolgirls, who were in transit for a meeting with the Borno governor; accompanied by 1 civilian government official. Due to the suspicion the convoy raised, the buses were caused to be driven into Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri for interrogation. The movement had been advised to beware and well-guided if the story broke out in the media, that Chibok girls were released and taken to Maimalari Barracks.

24 September: On Day 163 of the abduction, (that is 20 days short of exactly 6 calendar months) during his address at the 69th UN General Assembly in New York, President Jonathan misleads the audience. Says the Chibok girls have been missing “for over 3 months”:

pulse.ng/news/goodluck-jonathan-president-not-sure-when-chibok-girls-were-kidnapped-id3152692.html

thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2014/09/24/at-un-jonathan-goofs-on-months-chibok-girls-have-been-kidnapped/

29 September: DHQ says Nigeria will soon recover territories lost to Boko Haram. That is after denying that no territories were taken in the first place:

www.thisdaylive.com/articles/dhq-we-will-soon-exert-control-over-lost-territories/190167/

5 October: After denying an air force jet was downed by Boko Haram and disowning the captured air force pilot, the military later admitted:

www.vanguardngr.com/2014/10/confusion-beheading-air-force-pilot-captured-killed/

9 October: Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh accuses CNN and Aljazeera of fabricating stories about escapee Chibok girls.

Note: This is 137 days after saying the military knows where the missing 219 missing schoolgirls are. See 26 May

http://www.channelstv.com/2014/10/09/cnn-al-jazeera-lied-about-supposed-chibok-girls-escape-badeh/

14 October: Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says President Jonathan has increased the number of troops from 15 000 to 20 000 in the crisis-ridden northeastern part of Nigeria:

www.punchng.com/news/Boko Haramaram-jonathan-increases-troops-in-neast-to-20000/

www.today.ng/news/security-presidency-increases-troops-in-the-north-east-to-20000/

Note: The president had said in May that 20 000 troops had been deployed and were searching for the Chibok girls. Chibok is in Borno State, in northeast Nigeria. See 18 May

17 October: The military and presidency announce a ceasefire with Boko Haram, which involves release of all the abducted Chibok girls.

Note: An earlier ceasefire with Boko Haram had been announced in July 2013;
which Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, minister of special duties allegedly brokered. He had said the ceasefire "would last forever":

online.wsj.com/articles/nigeria-says-cease-fire-signed-with-boko-haram-1413562124

thenationonlineng.net/new/boko-haram-wont-renege-on-ceasefire-agreement-says-fed-govt/)

– Hours after this 17 October ceasefire announcement Abadam and Dzur (all in Borno) were attacked by Boko Haram:
mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0I709520141018?irpc=932

– There have been more kidnaps (including a niece of some #BringBackOurGirls advocates–a mother of 7, along with her mate)

– The military had earlier announced these territories were reclaimed. Unsuspecting citizens went back only to be killed and kidnapped
– Actual number of those kidnapped reported as 60 in the media, was confirmed to be 81
– Girls to be released on Mon 20 October:

http://www.punchng.com/news/bharam-ceasefire-sect-to-release-218-chibok-girls-on-monday/

19 October: Conflicting signals over girls' release. Principal Private Secretary to the President, Ambassador Hassan Tukur, contradicts Omeri, NIC chairman/official government spokesman on security. Says ceasefire did not include release of the Chibok girls. That their release shall be discussed next week:
www.informationng.com/2014/10/ceasefire-tukur-dismisses-omeris-announcement-on-imminent-release-of-chibok-girls.html

There have been doubts over the ceasefire from the military, GSS Chibok principal, Borno residents et al:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/11173541/Boko-Haram-ceasefire-doubts-after-attacks-reported-in-Nigeria.html

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/169712-why-we-doubt-boko-haram-ceasefire-chibok-principal-borno-residents.html

www.thisdaylive.com/articles/doubt-over-nigeria-boko-haram-ceasefire-kidnap-release/191666/

Chibok families are in the dark, and don't know what to believe or expect but choose to hope:
https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/169889-despite-ceasefire-breach-chibok-parents-hopeful-girls-will-return-wednesday.html

24 October: Chibok girls to be surely released on Mon 27 October:
www.vanguardngr.com/2014/10/military-doubts-boko-haram-ceasefire-expects-deadlier-attacks/

29 October: Boko Haram captures Mubi, the second largest city in Adamawa, next to the capital Yola; and home town of Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. Soldiers flee:

leadership.ng/news/388641/boko-haram-captures-mubi-town-adamawa

www.punchng.com/news/soldiers-flee-as-boko-haram-invades-mubi/

Also, Ms Osiya Agama, sister of the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, is rescued from kidnappers by the police, after 8 days:

pulse.ng/news/diezani-alison-madueke-petroleum-minister-s-sister-rescued-from-kidnappers-id3234892.html

www.informationng.com/2014/10/police-rescue-diezanis-sister-from-kidnappers.html

Note: The point repeatedly made has been that the 219 Chibok girls would not have been in captivity for 200 days had they been related to the high and mighty in society.

31 October: 200 days of Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction. 276 were abducted. 57 escaped through their self-effort. ‎219 are still missing

Calumny on the #BringBackOurGirls advocacy and personal attacks on its leading members:

16 May: Presidency says Mrs Oby Ezekwesili is profiting from a national calamity and exploiting Nigerians for personal aggradisement:
www.36ng.com.ng/2014/05/16/doyin-okupe-says-oby-ezekwesili-trying-profit-national-disaster-bringbackourgirls/

28 May: Hired thugs beat up members of the advocacy at the Unity Fountain, destroyed cameras, chairs, pilfered handbags, etc; before the watchful eyes of a detachement of police officers. Omeri, head of the NIC denied knowledge of such. Said there was no evidence. But was disproved when video clips of the incidence were played

9 Jul: Department of State Security spokesperson, Ms Marilyn Ogar lies that the movement among others, is a Boko Haram franchise. Meaning it is an interrelated BOKO HARAM terrorist cell. That it operates a bank account, solicits money, etc:

www.vanguardngr.com/2014/07/bringbackourgirls-security-forces-know-motive-marilyn/

15 Jul: The president himself accuses the advocates and advocacy as being political, manipulating victims of terrorism and engaged in psychological terrorism:

m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28318259

16 Oct: The presidency lies that the #BringBackOurGirls movement plans to “unseat” the Jonathan administration, are opposition party-sponsored, etc:
www.thecable.ng/presidency-bbog-group-wants-oust-jonathan

21 October: Ms Hadiza Bala Usman responds to TV adverts maligning her person:

http://www.nta.ng/hadiza-bala-usman-on-the-bringbackourgirls-tv-ads/

 

@sesugh_akume on Twitter

 

 

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