Nigeria’s #BringBackOurGirls movement on Friday urged the government to prioritize negotiations over military actions in its bid to rescue schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram militant group three years ago.
The demand, which is backed by parents of some of the victims, came as the movement began a week-long campaign ahead of the three-year anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in northeastern Chibok town.
At least 195 of the girls are still believed to be in captivity. Others have either escaped, freed or released through negotiations.
Activists urge the government to expedite its action to free the girls who were taken on the night of April 14, 2014, from their school dormitory.
“The federal government owes the remaining 195 Chibok girls the justice of immediate rescue. Let that be done before April 14, 2017.
“Three years is an indefensible time for our young women to be left in terrorist captivity,” the movement said in a statement.
“We request the rest of the Nigerian people and others around the world who have stood in empathy for the cause of our Chibok Girls to join our movement in prevailing on the government to act on our demand,” the activists added.
The demand for prioritizing negotiations over military actions is anchored on the successful rescue of 21 girls through dialogue last October.
Only three of the girls had regained freedom through military operations. At least 57 of the hostages had escaped their captors on the night of the kidnapping.
Samuel Yaga, father of one of the girls, Rebecca, backed the movement’s demand.
“If negotiation will do the work, I agree it should be pursued without any delay,” Yaga told Anadolu Agency Friday, adding: “The pain of waiting endlessly for one’s child is simply not what any part will bargain for.”
Prominent activities for the commemoration include a special prayer scheduled for Friday evening, a special church service on Sunday, a workshop on missing persons, a media engagement on Thursday, an inaugural lecture to be delivered next Friday by the outspoken Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II, and a news briefing to round off the events.