Thursday, January 14, 2016 9:01 pm
*President orders a probe of the 639 day old abduction
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an investigation into the theft of the 219 gIrls from Government Secondary in Chibok, Borno State.
The panel to investigate the incident which happened in April 2014 is soon to be named by the National Security Adviser, NSA, General Babagana Munguno.
The investigation will seek to, among other things, unravel the remote and immediate circumstances leading the kidnap of the girls by Boko Haram terrorists as well the other events, actions and inactions that followed the incident.
This came to light just as the President, in Abuja, assured parents of the Chibok girls that he has been doing his best and will continue to do everything possible to rescue them and re-unite them with their families.
Speaking at a meeting attended by some parents of the abducted girls, representatives of the Chibok community and members of the Bring Back Our Girls movement at the Conference Hall of the State House, President Buhari said that he remained fully committed to his pledge to do all within his powers to save the girls.
“I assure you that I go to bed and wake up every day with the Chibok girls on my mind.
“The unfortunate incident happened before this government came into being.
“What have we done since we assumed office? We re-organised the military, removed all the service chiefs and ordered the succeeding service chiefs to deal decisively with the Boko Haram insurgency.
“In spite of the terrible economic condition we found ourselves in, we tried to get some resources to give to the military to reorganise and equip, retrain, deploy more troops and move more forcefully against Boko Haram.
“And you all know the progress we have made. When we came in Boko Haram was in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. Boko Haram has now been reduced to areas around Lake Chad.
“Securing the Chibok girls is my responsibility. The service chiefs and heads of our security agencies will tell you that in spite of the dire financial straits that we found the country in, I continue to do my best to support their efforts in that regard.
“This is a Nigeria where we were exporting average of two million barrels per day at over 140 dollars per barrel. Now it is down to about 27 to 30 dollars.
“You have been reading in the press how they took public funds, our funds, your funds and shared it, instead of buying weapons. That was the kind of leadership I succeeded. That was the kind of economy I inherited.
“God knows I have done my best and I will continue to do my best,” President Buhari said.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd).
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence staff told the meeting that in the last three months the military has liberated more than 3000 people kidnapped by Boko Haram in the North eastern part of the country.
He said that the military had the ability to rescue the Chibok girls, but added that “intelligence is delicate and we don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the lives of the girls.”
However, the Leader of the #BringBackOurGirls (#BBOG) movement, Oby Ezekwesilli accused President Buhari of not connecting emotionally to the crying Chibok girls’ mothers that marched to the Presidential Villa.
Ezekwesilli said from the feedback they got, it was clear the President feels he has already given his best in the efforts to rescue the girls.
The former minister of Education spoke after members of the group converged at the Unity fountain after their interaction with the President.
She also said lack of response from government has made the girls’ parents to feel like they are being ignored simply because they are poor and reside in the village.
Ezekwesilli also accused the Minister of Women affairs, Aisha Alhassan, of attempting to break the ranks of the movement through her comments.
“You heard all the parents said at the meeting, is it because we are poor? Is it because we live in the forest? Is it because we live in the village? But that has no meaning in any society, there is no basis for discrimination on the basics of social status, political view, religious belief and other primordial device against any citizen.
“In the feedback from the President you can see clearly that the President feels that he has given his best in the efforts to rescue our Chibok girls, our President however was not able to emotionally connect to those crying mothers. That is an important attribute but we will continue to demand and we will take up the responsibility that the NSA has taken and we will make sure that we don’t stop until our girls are back and alive.”