The apex northern socio-political organization, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Thursday berated the Federal Government over its handling of the Boko Haram insurgency and the abduction of the over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno Sate, saying President Goodluck Jonathan’s initial response smacked of a hidden agenda against the region.
The pan-northern organization also lashed at the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, for conducting what it called a mock trial of government officials on national television and concluded that the entire episode was a charade.
In a statement entitled: “Insecurity and Government Ineptitude” signed by the body’s Secretary General, Col. John Paul Ubah (rtd), the ACF expressed dismay at the lack of seriousness on the part of government in handling the girls’ abduction and the entire insurgency.
The ACF noted that the president displayed a lack of urgency in the handling of the issue until Nigerians took to the streets to demand government action, adding that the first lady on her part has taken steps to disrupt efforts by concerned Nigerians to free the abducted girls by claiming that nobody was missing.
The statement reads: “The Rapid Response Committee of the ACF met on Wednesday, the 14th of May, 2014 at the Forum’s Headquarters, Kaduna. The meeting reviewed the current state of insecurity in the country and resolved to issue the following press statement.
“That the response of the Federal Government, particularly President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, to the abduction of over 200 students by Boko Haram from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno on the 14th of April, 2014, is disappointing.
“The President approached the abduction with neither a sense of urgency nor seriousness until ordinary Nigerians poured out on to the streets demanding greater action. The first lady remained characteristically disruptive of all efforts by concerned Nigerians.
“Her reaction to the street protests was to set up her own panel of inquiry to which she summoned federal and state government officials, including wives of Governors. She conducted a mock trial of the officials on live television and at the end of it, declared that no school girls were missing, suggesting that the entire story was some hoax constructed to embarrass her husband.
“The approach of the President to the tragic abductions of the Chibok girls is not much different from his handling of the entire insurgency war that has engulfed the North, especially the North East region since 2009. Even the President’s most ardent supporters readily agree that his prosecution of the insurgency war has been hesitant, feeble and half-hearted.
“The President hardly ever took action until he came under pressure to do so from people outside his government. The mounting pressure from local and international communities is now compelling him to talk of deploying more troops to confront the Boko Haram insurgents. His belated acceptance of help from foreign powers had come only after the abduction of over 200 young girls, stirring worldwide outrage”.