The Presidency has lamented the inability of the foreign countries involved in the search for the abducted schoolgirls of Chibok, Borno State, to locate them despite all the technology and intelligence at their disposal.
Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, in an article published on Wednesday in the Washington Times titled: “Nigeria’s Offensive against Boko Haram; Charges of a Do-Nothing Strategy are Misconceived”, said President Goodluck Jonathan was fully committed to ensuring that the abducted girls are rescued alive.
The school girls were kidnapped by by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14 in Chibok, Borno State and remain in captivity 88 days later. Though the Nigerian military says it knows their whereabouts but is careful on applying force to secure their release as it might result in heavy collateral damage.
Abati lamented: “Yes, it has been more than 80 days since the nightmare began. Americans, Canadians, the British and other friends of Nigeria are all involved in the search, in one form or the other, but unfortunately, with all the technology and intelligence at their disposal, the girls are yet to be found”.
According to Abati, President Jonathan is keenly aware of his responsibility for the safety, security and well-being of the Chibok girls and all Nigerians.
“He wants the girls back like everyone else and is doing everything within his powers to rescue them safely and return them to their distraught parents.
“Indeed, in the past several days, we’ve seen actions speaking louder than any words. Under Mr. Jonathan’s leadership, our military forces have captured the alleged leader of the Boko Haram cell that abducted the girls and have captured or killed dozens of armed mercenaries responsible for violence and terrorism in the region”, the presidential aide said.
Abati noted that “The outrage is understandable. But we must not become so blinded by its horror as to reduce it all to the fault of one man. This is not about the strength or failings of one man. Terrorism is an assault on human rights and our civilisation. It requires international cooperation and concerted domestic action”.
He stressed that the president’s appeal for support and solidarity had brought the Boko Haram challenge to the attention of the world and galvanised international action.
Noting that Jonathan’s call for global support and cooperation against Boko Haram certainly did not amount to an abdication of responsibility, he said: “Boko Haram, the political opposition and a section of the Nigerian media may have turned Jonathan-bashing into a tasteless and unpatriotic sport, it will be sad indeed if the international media were to allow itself to be led by the nose into that game”.
The presidential spokesman also maintained that it was not fair of anyone to see Jonathan as the problem in the case of the abducted schoolgirls.
According to him, the most popular misconception was the notion that Jonathan’s administration has consciously adopted a “do-nothing” strategy, and that the government was only moved to action and considered international help necessary after pressure was mounted on it to do something.