Policemen on Tuesday frustrated moves by the BringBackOurGirls group to march to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to engage with President Goodluck Jonathan, on efforts of the security agencies to rescue the 219 Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity.
The protesters were stopped from accessing the villa gate and their protest was restricted to the Yakubu Gowon Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja, where they were addressed by an all-female government delegation including the Minister for Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Lawrencia Laraba-Mallam, the Minister of Land and Housing, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi, and the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe.
Motorists and pedestrians, who wanted to use the Gowon Crescent access road to the villa, were turned back by stern-looking security personnel, who barricaded the road with their vehicles.
Maina, while addressing the movement said the Federal Government was doing everything possible to ensure the safe release of the schoolgirls.
She said, “We are here to meet you because Mr. President is very busy today and he cannot come out. The government is trying all it could to make sure that these girls are brought back. They are our daughters. We are all mothers; as much as it hurts you, it hurts us. You know as well as we do that some of you are very much aware of the efforts that the government has been making to make sure that these our daughters are brought back alive.”
But the BBOG Coordinator and a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwezili, accused the ministers of colluding with the police to prevent the protesters from meeting with Jonathan.