The #BringBackOurGirls campaigners are pushing for the rescue of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno, on April 15.
The group planed to march to the presidential Villa “to engage with President Goodluck Jonathan” and persuade him to act more decisively to rescue the girls held hostage by Boko Haram for half a year.
The group explained that it needed to protest at the presidential villa “to convey the urgency of the girls’ rescue and to hear directly from the president on the status of the rescue efforts by security agencies’’.
The march was scheduled to begin at the Unity Fountain, located close to the Transcorp Hilton Hotels, Maitama, and proceed to the State House through the Federal Secretariat.
But as at 8.20 a.m. there has been heavy presence of armed security men at the two major gates leading to the Villa, apparently to forestall possible breakdown of order.
At the gate approaching the presidential villa from the Fire Service side of Asokoro, armed policemen and soldiers had been stationed at the traffic light junction before the usual security checkpoint.
The same situation played out at the Federal Secretariat end of the entrance.
Armed police officers and soldiers from the Brigade of Guards were stationed at a spot between the Villa Gate and the access road that leads to the National Assembly.
This is the second attempt by the group to protest at the Presidential Villa since the Chibok schoolgirls were abducted six months ago.
In May, the group’s first attempt was halted about 500 hundred metres away from the Villa after top government officials met them half way to deliver the president’s response to their demands.
The Junior minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide, who bore the president’s message told the protesters the president wanted their protest directed at terrorists – demanding the release of the the hostages – rather than asking the government to rescue them.
No group has successfully protested at the Presidential Villa grounds.