Fragile Security Forces Jonathan to Abort Visit to Chibok
Indications have emerged that President Goodluck Jonathan cancelled his allegedly planned visit to Chibok due to the fragile security situation in Borno State.
Reports have said Jonathan would visit the town where Islamist sect Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls yesterday, but the planned visit was later reportedly cancelled.
Special Adviser to Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati and the coordinator of National Information Centre on Security, Mr. Mike Omeri however debunked the story, insisting that no such visit was planned by the President.
Although there was no official confirmation of the president’s planned visit to Chibok, sources confirmed to several media houses that the president had planned to visit Chibok on Friday and the news was all over the print and electronic media.
The alleged mutiny few days ago by soldiers at Maimalari Barrack in Maiduguri over the killing of their colleagues who were ambushed by Boko Haram was said to have contributed to the decision to cancel the Chibok visit.
But in a tweet by Abati on Friday, the president’s aide said reports that Jonathan would be in Chibok was not true, saying there was no plan by the president to visit the area.
“Every trip by the President is usually pre-announced. The Presidency did not at any time announce a trip to Chibok today. Ignore rumours.
“The statement issued by my office friday, indicated very clearly that the President is scheduled to travel to Paris today.
“It is therefore wrong and malicious to allege that a non-existent trip had been cancelled,” Abati twitted.
In his own comment, Omeri while giving situation report on the rescue mission for the abducted girls and other salient security matters, said the report about the President’s visit to Chibok did not emanate from any government source or any source known to the centre.
“As it is the practice in Nigeria, presidential trips or visits are always pre-announced to the public by the presidential spokesman, which is not the case in this, and this is sad.
Even before now, a number of similar information have gone out to the press and were widely reported in Nigeria and abroad. It looks like a trend where such information always finds it way into the media,” he said.
Giving update on the rescue mission, Omeri said the government with the assistance of the international community was working assiduously to achieve success and restore normalcy in the region, adding that the Nigerian military and the foreign allies are collaborating without hindrance.
“Troops are out there combing the forest and other possible locations searching for our fellow citizens, international support is also there assisting, as for the President visiting Chibok, we have not ruled out that possibility, it is entirely within the purview of his office,” Omeri added.