Written by Isiaka Wakili
Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs Doyin Okupe said in a statement weekend that the incoming government of General Muhammadu Buhari would have to devise the best approach to find and rescue the girls.
President Jonathan had on March 5, 2015, while speaking on an AIT breakfast programme, Kakaaki, assured Nigerians that his administration would rescue the girls kidnapped from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, by the Boko Haram one year ago.
“The good story is that they’ve not killed them (the girls) because when terrorists kill, they display so that they use it to intimidate the people in the society. So, these girls are alive. And so, we’ll get the girls”, the president had said.
But Okupe, in his Facebook post on Saturday, fore closed the feasibility of rescuing the girls before May 29, disclosing that the issue of the missing Chibok schoolgirls would be part of the handover notes currently being prepared by President Jonathan’s administration.
He said well-meaning Nigerians of good conscience would have to dialogue with the incoming administration of retired General Muhammadu Buhari on the best new approach to rescue the schoolgirls.
“One of the issues that will be in the handover notes will be the missing girls. What is reasonable and expedient for well-meaning men and women of good conscience is to dialogue with the incoming administration on what best new approach to employ to find and rescue the Chibok girls”, Okupe said.
According to the presidential aide, “not much can be achieved, except mischief, by continuing to flog this administration on this matter”.
Jonathan had, during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to submit their handover notes to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation by April 20 (today).
Okupe also alleged weekend that conspiracies from within and outside the country over the girls’ abduction were responsible for Jonathan’s loss at the March 28 presidential election.
He said these conspiracies were aimed at depicting President Jonathan’s government as incompetent and holding it to ransom against the 2015 general elections.
He further claimed that the BringBackOurGirls (BBOG), the group championing the rescue of the missing girls, was formed “to sustain and internationalise the embarrassment”.
“One of the reasons the Chibok girls were kidnapped was to present Jonathan’s administration as incompetent and hold it to ransom against 2015 elections.
“One of the reasons the BBOG (Bring-Back-Our-Girls movement) was formed was to sustain and internationalise the embarrassment.
“One of the reasons President Jonathan lost the election was a national and international conspiracy predicated on this carefully choreographed and assiduously sustained perception”, Okupe wrote.
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives had on Wednesday, via a motion of urgent public importance by Abike Dabiri-Erewa (APC, Lagos), urged Jonathan’s administration to rescue the girls before May 29.
Similarly, the Chibok community in Abuja had said in a statement Wednesday that they were hoping that Jonathan would keep his words by rescuing the girls alive before vacating office on May 29.
“Despite the gloomy picture of what is happening in the community, we’re still hopeful that our girls will come back alive. We’re hoping that Mr President will keep his words by bringing the girls back alive before leaving office on 29th, May, 2015. Even if he fails to achieve it, we’re hopeful that the president-elect will bring back our girls alive”, the community had said.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) had assured Nigerians during a media chat in Abuja last Wednesday that the Nigerian troops prosecuting the terrorist war would invade the Sambisa Forest in Borno before the swearing-in of Buhari.
The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Kenneth Minimah had equally said during an interview with journalists in Abuja last Thursday that there was hope of rescuing the schoolgirls since the insurgents “are now on the run”.
“Yes, by the time we capture Sambisa forest completely, we will be able to find out where the girls are”, the army chief had said.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, had on May 25, 2014 while receiving a solidarity rally organised by the Citizens Initiative for Security Awareness, said the Nigeria’s security leadership had located where the insurgents were holding the abducted schoolgirls.
Badeh had said the military had the capacity to rescue the abducted girls but would not use force so that the girls would not be killed in the guise of rescuing them.
“We want our girls back, we can do it, but where they are held, can we go with force? If we go with force, what will happen? So, nobody should come and say the Nigerian military does not know what it is doing. We know what we are doing. We can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back”.
The president-elect, Buhari, had in a statement last Monday pledged to act differently and do everything possible to rescue the girls from captivity. He had, however, warned that the new approach must begin with “honesty” in admitting that the girls’ whereabouts were unknown.
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