BY OKEY NDIRIBE AND FUNMI SUPO
There was fracas at the Unity Fountain in Abuja Wednesday where a coalition of women groups under the umbrella of #Bringbackourgirls” have been protesting against the abduction of over 200 school girls from Chibok in Borno State since last Month.
Vanguard learnt that the fracas occurred as a result of rivalry between the #Bringbackourgirls group and a new group named “#ReleaseOurGirlsNow”. Members of #Bringbackourgirls have been involved in the protest which has already gained global attention since it commenced several weeks ago.
Unconfirmed sources told Vanguard that the clash was serious necessitating the invitation of the the police.
It was learnt that the Release Our Girls group who are believed to be mostly Abuja-based market women destroyed some of the chairs and mats of #BringBackOurGirls group. Vanguard learnt that the intervention of the Nigeria Police brought sanity to the venue of the protest.
When Vanguard arrived at the fountain yesterday evening detachments of armed policemen were seen watching over the women.
It was also observed that most of the women who were present at the Unity Fountain belonged to the Release Our Girls group.
It was also observed that few members of #Bringbackourgirls group at the Fountain wore white tee-shirts which was a departure from the red attire they usually wore in the past.
Princess Maryann Onuoha, Coordinator of Grand Alliance Against Terrorism, which is affiliated to #Bringbackourgirls spoke to Vanguard and described what happened as a minor disagreement between some women adding that incidents like this were bound to happen whenever there was a large crowd of women at a single place.
Another woman who identified herself as Princess Kate Egu, coordinator of Royal Ladies Organization-one of the groups affiliated to Release Our Girls group- said the prevailing situation required all women uniting to fight together and find a way of bringing back the abducted girls alive.
According to her: “The situation should not be politicized or used to attack our government and armed forces.”
She continued: “They have no reason to hold our children as hostages whosoever they are. They should release our daughters; we are in pains. You can imagine what the parents of those girls are passing through.”
However, when contacted the Federal Capital Territory Police Command Public Relations Officer, Altine Daniel denied that there was any clash among the women.
However, she explained that “We had to provide extra security cover at the Unity Fountain yesterday because there were two different groups which protested against the abduction of the Chibok girls at the same spot.”
Already the #Bringbackourgirls group yesterday confirmed there was a clash between its members and those of the Release Our Girls group.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the group yesterday evening.
According to former Minister of Education and the leader of #Bring Back Our Girls group, Dr. Oby Ezekwizili, “It is rather unfortunate that this is happening now. But the group would not be intimidated by anybody. Our normal campaign of #Bring Back Our Girls, alive and well will continue. Until we see our girls we would not stop the campaign”.