Government of federal republic of Nigeria through the ministry of information has invited members of the Bring Our Girls Back (BBOG) to a short trip in a military operational flight into Sambisa forest in search of the missing Chibok girls.
The invitation extended to members of the BBOG, an advocacy group for the release of the missing school girls from Chibok, Borno, was contained in a letter dated January 11.
The letter signed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and addressed to Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, the convener of the group was made available to the media on Saturday.
But the group, in its response issued on Saturday in Abuja by the convener, Oby Ezekwesili, said a pre-tour meeting should precede the tour during which crucial issues would be discussed.
The letter reads in part: “We write to thank you and acknowledge your letter on the above subject, dated January 11, 2017 which we received by email transmission yesterday, January 12, 2017.
“We had an emergency meeting of our Movement to discuss your invitation to embark on a “guided tour” of the Nigerian Air Force Command (Yola) and Sambisa Forest with officials of the government.
“Our members unanimously agreed that the Movement is open to exploring the opportunity for a visit to the North-East theatre of war as presented in your invitation.
“However, before proceeding with further discussions on the proposed visit, we propose a pre-tour meeting to discuss pertinent issues that will help inform our decision to proceed.
“We believe that this prior meeting would help provide first-hand knowledge of, and answers to questions that our movement wishes to raise ahead of the guided visit.
“We propose that participants at the meeting be the National Security Adviser to the President and the other officials of government indicated in your letter. These are: 1. The Minister of Defence’ 2. The Chief of Army Staff, and 3. The Chief of Air staff.”
The group demanded an apology from the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, for “endorsing slanderous attacks” against it.
BBOG said a certain group, which Buratai received at the army headquarters, attacked it for engaging in “social advocacy”.
“Furthermore, we wish to raise a matter critical to our proposed meeting. Only two days ago, the Federal Government owned News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) widely reported, through the mass media, that during a visit to the Army Headquarters by a certain group which was received by the Chief of Army Staff, our Movement was attacked for engaging in “social advocacy terrorism.
“It is puzzling that the reported visit happened less than 48 hours before our Movement received your letter asking us to travel in the company of the same Chief of Army Staff to Sambisa Forest.
“We demand therefore that ahead of the pre-tour meeting we have proposed herein, that the Chief of Army Staff retracts and apologizes for endorsing such slanderous attacks against our Movement #BringBackOurGirls and specifically at some of our leaders,” the statement reads.