President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday reassured the international community that the Federal Government would do everything possible to ensure the rescue of the abducted school girls in Chibok, Borno.
Jonathan gave the reassurance at the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on the Rescue of the Abducted School girls chaired by retired Gen. Ibrahim Sabo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Goodluck Jonathan
He also used the occasion to assure delegates to the World Economic Forum for Africa of their safety and a hitch-free event.
“Let me assure the families and our dear daughters that in conjunction with international community that government will do everything possible to get our girls back.
“We share your pain and suffering and we are with you in prayers. We urge you to cooperate with the investigations in spite of your understandably difficult situation.
“We employ you to remain strong. I assure all Nigerians and our esteem guests, especially delegates to the World Economic Forum of a safe and conducive atmosphere.
“We have our challenges just like every other countries have, but we must surely make sure that the World Economic Forum goes on without any hitch.
“We will continue to reinforce security everywhere around the country in order to sustain our development gains,’’ Jonathan said.
The president clarified that the committee was neither a judicial committee nor an administrative committee to look into the affairs of the incident.
He said the clarification was necessary to avoid misconception or litigation on the ground that only the affected state could set up administrative panel.
Jonathan further clarified that the committee was not a replacement for the search and rescue operations being undertaken by security agencies.
He said that the operation of the security and intelligence services would continue to intensify till the girls were rescued and brought safely home to their families.
The president said that the committee would be primarily concern with providing public interface with all directly concern in the tragedy.
The objective, he said, was to provide well coordinated citizens’ inputs into the overall investigations.
“Fellow countrymen and women, this is a trying moment for our country and it is reassuring that we have the empathy and cooperation of friendly countries from across the world at this time.
“I am appreciative of the fact that this sad incident has attracted global outrage.
“This is a clear testimony to the fact that humanity can come together and stand as one against evil no matter how it is presented.
“This is the time when we must dwell together beyond all political, religious or regional divide against our common enemy.
“We must remain vigilant and be ready to assist security agencies and authorities at all time,’’ he said.
The president charged the committee members to be ever mindful of the sensitivity and the importance of their assignment.
He said they should work meticulously and swiftly to achieve the most in the time they have, and consistently brief the world of their activities.
In a response, the Chairman of the committee thanked the president for the confidence reposed in them, and assured that they would work assiduously to meet the expectation of Nigerians and the world.
Sabo also assured that they would discharge their duties without fear or favour.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, had said that the work of the committee would be largely fact findings.
He said the committee’s terms of reference would be to liaise with Borno government to establish the circumstances leading to the school remaining open for boarding students when other schools were closed.
Others are: to liaise with relevant authorities and the parents of the missing girls to establish the actual number and identities of the girls abducted.
The committee would interface with the security services and Borno government to ascertain how many of the missing girls have returned
It would also mobilise the surrounding communities and the general public on citizen support for a rescue strategy and operation.
The others are articulating a framework for a multi-stakeholder action for the rescue of the missing girls and to advise government on any matter incidental to the terms of reference.
The members of the committee are: Hajia Hawa Ibrahim, Hajia Fatima Kwaku, Commodore F.A. Ogbonna, Mrs Iheme Florence, Mr Rotimi Obamuwagun and Mrs Aisha ibrahim representing the Nigerian Union of Journalists.
Mr Kingsley Osadolor would serve as the committee spokesperson.
The others include Dr Fatima Abduraheem, Mrs Remi kuku, Mrs Nkechi Mba, Col. O.I Olayinka, Dr Dauda Toure and Mr Kelvin Nwankwo. [NAN]