The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to secure the safe release of the school girls who were abducted in Chibok over six months ago, if indeed he knows where they are, rather than seeking to make political capital out of their plight.
“Mr. President, tongues are wagging that you know where the girls are and that you want them to be released only when it will give you the maximum political advantage. We don’t know if this is true or not, but if it is, please release the girls now”, the party said in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
“It is cruel and unconscionable for anyone to use these girls as pawns on a political chess board. They have now been in captivity for over six full months. Please end the agony of the girls’ parents and indeed of all Nigerians”, it said.
The statement noted that the body language of President Jonathan, since the unfortunate abduction of the girls, points to the fact that he knows more than he is willing to admit on the unfortunate issue, and that he has exhibited an unprecedented nonchalance over the plight of the girls
“First, the President waited for all of 19 days before even admitting that the girls have been abducted, losing a critical window of opportunity to rescue them from their abductors. When eventually he was forced by global pressure to admit that the abduction is real, Mr. President and his wife chose to subject the girls’ parents and others to untold verbal assault and mental torture.
“A little over a month after the girls were abducted, the Chief of Defence Staff said the security leadership in the country had located where Boko Haram is holding the abducted girls. Since then, Nigerians have been waiting for the girls to be rescued, to no avail. No one has told Nigerians the problems that are mitigating against the release of the girls, be it logistic or otherwise.
“More recently, on Sept. 23rd, the military tweeted the imminent release of the girls, only to retract the the statement shortly thereafter. However, in the intervening period, thousands of ‘supporters’ of the President had gathered at the Pierre Hotel in New York to welcome the President (who was then in New York for the UN General Assembly session) after the release of the girls, while media interviews had been booked for him. No one has told Nigerians why that ‘imminent release’ of the girls was botched
“Also recently, a flurry of nocturnal activities have been going on ostensibly to negotiate the release of the girls, even after the same government that is apparently behind the activities had bluntly ignored wise counsel and said it would never negotiate their release.
“Finally, President Jonathan, in his characteristic ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude, refused to meet with the selfless men and women who have been championing the campaign for the release of the girls on the sixth-month anniversary of their abduction. Instead, the President sent a team of impudent ministers who went to lambaste the altruistic campaigners and call them names. Juxtapose that with the global solidarity shown to the campaigners from non-celebrities and celebrities alike, including Alicia Keys, and you will realize how insensitive this Administration has been”.
The opposition party said from the foregoing, it is clear that President Jonathan has consciously manipulated the abduction of the girls for maximum political advantage.
“It is clear that President Jonathan has suddenly shown more interest in their release after his consensus nomination as PDP candidate for next year’s elections. Our appeal, therefore, is for the President to allow the immediate release of the girls, rather than wait for when it will give maximum boost to his political fortunes”, it said.