Pres­i­dency: Chi­bok girls not within easy grasp

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

The Pres­i­dency says it is mis­lead­ing of any­one to preach that the over 200 ab­ducted Chi­bok girls are within easy grasp.

The Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Mal­lam Garba Shehu, said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that if the mil­i­tary knew where the miss­ing school­girls were kept, they would bring them home.

He ap­pealed to of­fi­cials and mem­bers of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) cam­paign group not to wa­ver in their sup­port for the gov­ern­ment in the war against ter­ror­ism and on­go­ing ef­forts to free all cit­i­zens ab­ducted by the Boko Haram.

He faulted re­cent claims by the BBOG group that Buhari had bro­ken all prom­ises made to them about res­cu­ing the miss­ing girls and that gov­ern­ment had been lack­adaisi­cal in the res­cue mis­sion.

The pres­i­den­tial aide said Buhari would never make bo­gus prom­ises or play to the gallery.

“The past year of this ad­min­is­tra­tion has seen the Nige­rian mil­i­tary step up bom­bard­ment of the Sam­bisa For­est, a strong­hold of the Boko Haram ter­ror­ist group, lead­ing to the cap­ture of hun­dreds of in­sur­gents. Also, records from the army show the res­cue of no fewer than 15,000 cap­tives, mostly women and chil­dren from the ter­ror­ists from Fe­bru­ary to date.

“In ad­di­tion, dozens of com­mu­ni­ties that were pre­vi­ously un­der the con­trol of the ter­ror­ists have been lib­er­ated, al­low­ing thou­sands of pre­vi­ously dis­placed cit­i­zens to re­turn home and re­sume their nor­mal lives. How­ever, their lib­er­a­tion is just as im­por­tant as that of ev­ery other miss­ing woman and child, and a tes­ta­ment to the devotion of our mil­i­tary per­son­nel who daily risk life and limb in the ef­fort to bring back ev­ery Nige­rian cit­i­zen kid­napped by Boko Haram ter­ror­ists,” he said.

Shehu said along the on­go­ing ef­forts to rid Nige­ria of ter­ror­ists and ter­ror­ism, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was fo­cused on the wel­fare and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of res­cued Nige­ri­ans, many of whom were found in a state of se­vere mal­nu­tri­tion and ill­ness.

“While their in­ten­tions are hon­ourable, per­haps the BBOG lead­er­ship have not con­sid­ered the col­lat­eral dam­age which must in­evitably fol­low its riv­et­ing and dispir­it­ing claim that the pres­i­dent has ‘bro­ken all prom­ises’ al­legedly made to the group on this is­sue. Or that he has been ‘lack­adaisi­cal’ in res­cu­ing the Chi­bok girls. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s fo­cus has al­ways been to free the Chi­bok girls alive and un­harmed,” he added.

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (right) and For­mer Pres­i­dent, African De­vel­op­ment Bank, Don­ald Kaberuka dur­ing an au­di­ence at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja yes­ter­day. Photo: Felix Onig­binde

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