As outrage continues to greet the comment credited to National Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Kema Chikwe, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has berated the former aviation minister, saying that she crossed the line and plumbed the depths of ‘absurdity and insensitivity’.
Ms Chikwe had reportedly expressed doubts that over 200 female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, were actually abducted by Boko Haram gunmen, asking for evidence of the incident. But she has since said she was ‘misunderstood’.
But the opposition party in a statement issued on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was surprised that such an insensitive statement could be made by a woman considered to be a mother, grandmother and top official of the ruling PDP.
APC said such issue of national concern and threat to life that is seen as a national embarrassment, shouldn’t be downplayed by a strong party member of Chikwe’s stature.
The party wonders if the statements depict the belief of the PDP over the abduction of the young schoolgirls.
It said; “It has been said that politics should not be brought into issues of national security. But how can anyone keep quiet in the face of this glaring assault on the sensitivity of a whole nation by a supposed leader of the ruling party? Who indeed is attempting to politicise a national tragedy, undoubtedly the worst in the history of our nation, if not the PDP?”
The party stressed that President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to visit chibok to talk to the parents of the abducted students could be linked to Chikwe’s statement.
It said, “Does this explain why the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has not deemed it fit to make a national broadcast to assure a dumbstruck nation that he is indeed in charge, to give hope to the shell-shocked parents of the girls and to inspire the military, three weeks after this unprecedented national tragedy? Is this why the President and Commander-in-Chief has yet to visit Chibok?
“If security concerns are responsible for the President’s failure to visit Chibok, how is it possible for Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno State to have visited the school, even in defiance of intelligence reports? If the military cannot make Chibok safe for its Commander-in-Chief to visit, who in that town is safe? We submit that no part of this country should be out of bounds to the President and Commander-in-Chief. Nowhere in which our military men and women are deployed should be out of bounds to our President and Commander-in-Chief”, it said.
APC went further: “A fringe group first mooted this idea of the abduction not being real and was ignored. But now that it has been raised to the level of a party’s stand, it is time for all Nigerians to speak out and condemn this absurdity. Is Chikwe saying that the military that has been working round the clock to rescue the girls is only play acting? Is she also saying that the President who called an expanded National Security Council meeting on the issue is only horsing around? Enough of this absurdity.
“We urge our patriotic soldiers and indeed all concerned to ensure that these innocent girls are returned home safely to their parents. We commend all the groups that have staged public protests to force the authorities to act faster on this issue for their efforts. We say all hands must be on deck to end this national nightmare as soon
as possible”, it said.