By Nazifi Haruna
The federal government on Sunday rejected conditions given to it by the the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group for taking part in a tour to Sambisa Forest to witness efforts being made to rescue the Chibok schoolgirls from Boko Haram captivity.
In a letter to the group, Lai Muhammed, the Minister of Information and Culture said the trip could not be postponed to accommodate any “pre-tour” meeting with the government.
The letter, addressed to Obiageli Ezekwesili, the convener of the BBOG, also said that the demand made by group to meet with the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and other officials is irrelevant to the invitation of the group to the Sambisa tour.
‘’We have also noted the conditions you gave for embarking on the trip which include the said Pre-Tour Meeting and the retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, which the #BBOG finds to be slanderous. We regret, however, to inform you that we are unable to postpone the trip as scheduled, ’’ Mr. Mohammed said.
He added that the team assembled for the tour would proceed on the trip on Monday as scheduled because of the “narrow window available to have a good weather on the day” and that “payment for the satellite downlink streaming of the mission had been made for the day and shifting the date will require another round of booking to secure such a slot.”
The minister further explained that apart from the BBOG members, local and international journalists had been invited for the trip, just as some preparations had been made by the Nigerian military.
‘’We hope that the BBOG will drop its conditions and join the trip which shows the commitment of the Federal Government to securing freedom for the Chibok girls and its transparency in handling the issues of the girls, ” Mr. Mohammed added.