Civil rights activist and senatorial aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Shehu Sani, has berated the Northern Elders Forum for issuing an ultimatum to President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue the abducted Chibok girls.
Mr. Sani, who is the Executive Director of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, said the ultimatum issued last week was “opportunistic, insensitive and illogical”.
The Northern Elders Forum had urged President Jonathan to ensure the over 200 girls abducted by the extremist Boko Haram over four months ago, regain their freedom before the end of October 2014.
The group warned that should he fail to secure their release by the end of the ultimatum, he should forgo his re-election bid.
However, the presidency dismissed the threat, describing the members of the group as “delusional”.
In a statement Sunday, Mr. Sani also faulted the ultimatum, stressing that it was of no use or effect on the plight or freedom of the abducted girls.
“The opportunistic submission of tying the fate of the Chibok girls to the political ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 is most irrational, illogical and insensitive”, he said.
Mr. Sani, who has tried to establish back-channel communication with Boko Haram, said tying the president’s political ambition to the girls’ freedom cannot “bring back the girls” as it merely amounts to saying if the president rescues the girls, he doesn’t need to do any other thing to win a second term.
“There is the need for politicians to make a clear distinction between their political support or differences with President Goodluck and the need for all to converge on the moral imperative to rescue the abducted girls from captivity”, Mr. Sani said.
“Northern elders have the fundamental rights to express their opinion on the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan but their attempt to link the Chibok girls’ plight to the political ambition of Jonathan is condemnable”, he said.
He added that at this crisis moment in the nation’s history, particularly in the northern parts of Nigeria, northern elders should be more proactive in finding solutions to the raging insurgency and religious violence than scoring cheap political points from tragic situations.
The rights campaigner pointed out that the girls of Chibok need concern, sympathy and support from all Nigerians but above all they need any form of active and result-oriented intervention that can lead to their freedom.
“I still believe that the best way to secure the release of the abducted Chibok girls is through dialogue”, he said.
“Swapping the girls with detainees of the insurgent is the safest and most pragmatic approach to securing their release”, Mr. Sani added.