PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, July 8, said the conflicting reports that emanated from the federal government and the security forces following the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, last year portrayed the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan in a bad light locally and internationally.
Buhari said he was not impressed by the way the past government’s handled the issue, saying he could only ask for patience.
The president spoke while receiving in audience members of the #BringBackOurGirls group, a pressure group clamouring for the rescue of the abducted girls. He said: “The delayed and late reaction by the former government and its agencies was very unfortunate as I said…I think you will agree with me that the present government takes the issue very seriously. Within a week of being sworn in, I visited Niger, Chad and would have visited Cameroon but for the invitation of the G-7 to go to Germany.
“I am very impressed with the fact that the leadership of this important group and the United Nations itself, are very concerned about the security in Nigeria which led to the abduction of the Chibok girls by the terrorists. When the terrorists announced their loyalty to ISIS, the whole attention again was brought squarely to Nigeria. And now we are rated with Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. This is very unfortunate.”
Buhari insisted that members of the Boko Haram sect could not claim to be propagating Boko Haram, Islam, saying they should consider changing their name to something else. He said: “You can’t go and kill innocent people and say ‘Allah Akbar!’ It is either you don’t believe it or you don’t know what you are saying. So, it has nothing to do with religion; they are just terrorists and Nigeria will mobilise against all of them.”
Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of education and one of the leaders of the group, told the president that one of their major demands from the government was the immediate rescue of the Chibok girls. Ezekwesili argued that the abducted girls had stayed far beyond the acceptable period in the hands of terrorists.
She said the government needed to apologise for the failure that led to the girls’ abduction and its inability to rescue them. Ezekwesili also called on the federal government to set up a commission of inquiry for accountability on the abduction and rescue of the girls.
While calling for the adoption of the identification, verification and reintegration of abducted citizens’ strategy, Ezekwesili also called for the creation of what she called National Missing Persons Bureau for the country. She also called on Buhari to release the report of the presidential fact-finding committee that was set up by the Jonathan administration in the wake of the abduction.
Mariam Uwais, another leader of the group, said the group would not relent in its demand for the rescue of the girls.
— Jul 20, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT