BY CHARLES KUMOLU
Yemie Ademolekun, Executive Director Enough is Enough Nigeria, EIE, in this interview flays various appeals to the Islamic Boko Haram insurgents to bring back the abducted Chibok girls. She also states that there is so much inconsistency and dishonesty in the efforts at bringing back the girls, among other issues.
YOU were active during the occupy Nigeria protest, since then much has not been heard of EIE?
EIE is a coalition of civil society organisations. It was not started as a formal organisation. It spurned off from a protest in 2010 when president Yar’Adua was ill. Then we were not sure if he was alive or dead.
That was why we planned a protest in Abuja and Lagos. That was probably the largest youth led protest in Nigeria. Following the protest, we thought it was important for young people to participate in the process and ensure that they have a say in who comes into office. That was why we decided to set up Enough is Enough organisation that did a lot of work around the election process. We coined the campaign as RSVP. It means Registration, Voting and Protection of Votes. Protecting votes involves making the votes count. After the elections it is also incumbent on them to hold the leaders accountable so as to know how your money is spent.
Is this movement basically for electioneering periods or it’s activities also extend beyond elections?
We do a lot. Like the Chibok issue. We have been very active from the first day the girls were abducted. They are not the first girls to be abducted. They are the largest to be abducted. A very easy reference point was the Baga massacre of last year. In June 2013 the National Human Rights Commission issued a report that in some parts of Bornu women have stopped going to the farm because of abductions. It was also stated that women have stopped going to the fish market because of fear of abduction. Let us not forget that twenty girls were abducted in February this year. So it’s a pattern and not just Chibok girls alone. It is a fundamental security issue.
When you look back will you say that you have gone far in achieving your goals since your organisation came on board?
I will say yes and no. I think we know that it is a journey. And if you have a system that is as decayed as ours, it will be illusional for anyone to expect a quick fixing. The yes part is that we have done a good job in raising awareness and maintaining awareness. It is not about us having a protest. Our interest goes beyond that because we want citizens that are engaged in how they Re governed. We want our citizens to know their rights and understand that the rights are not supposed to be begged for or demanded for. I think we have done a good job by putting that in the front burner.
So what has your group done on the abduction of the Chibok girls?
The fortunate issue about Chibok is that it got people interested. It happened on a Monday while Oby Ezekwesili started the campaign almost immediately. There was online response spontaneously. It was very unfortunate to watch the government not acting and being very antagonistic against its own citizens. The protests are not attacks on the government. They are demands from the governed. At the heart of this we are asking the government where are the girls are and we are asking them to bring the girls back. So appealing to Boko Haram and begging them is stupid. You are telling us that you cant negotiate with terrorist yet, yet you are appealing to Boko Haram. I was disgusted when a lawmaker begged Boko Haram to allow the children’s day celebration hold.
So, you are against dialogue?
It depends on the prisoners you are talking about. If some of their wives are imprisoned and the deal is to swap with their wives, I am fully in support of that. I am fully in support of dialogue on the part of the federal government, but I am saying that they flip flop on the matter.