28th June, 2014
President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the Federal Government has spared no resources in the effort to find the girls abducted in Chibok, Borno State on April 14, by the terror group, Boko Haram.
He also stated that his silence on the administration’s efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls did not amount to inaction or weakness as being perceived by partisan critics.
Jonathan stated these in an op-ed published in the Washington Post, and obtained by NAN on Friday in Abuja.
“I have had to remain quiet about the continuing efforts by Nigeria’s military, police and investigators to find the girls kidnapped in April from the town of Chibok by the terrorist group, Boko Haram.”
“I am deeply concerned,” he said, adding: “My silence has been necessary to avoid compromising the details of our investigation.”
Jonathan stated that his administration and the security and intelligence services had spared no resources, “have not stopped and will not stop until the girls are returned home and the thugs who took them are brought to justice”.
He said on his orders, the Nigeria forces had aggressively sought the killers in the forests of northern Borno, where they are based, adding that government was fully committed to defending the integrity of the nation.
“My heart aches for the missing children and their families. I am a parent myself, and I know how awfully this must hurt. Nothing is more important to me than finding and rescuing our girls,” he said.
He recalled that since 2010, thousands of people had been killed, injured, abducted or forced by Boko Haram that seeks to overwhelm the country and impose its ideology on all Nigerians.
“My government is determined to make that impossible. We will not succumb to the will of terrorists.”
Jonathan noted that abduction of the girls cannot be seen as an isolated event, pointing out that terrorism knows no borders.
He said that Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Britain and the United States had established an External Intelligence Response Unit this month to share security information on such threats in West Africa.
“I propose that we build on this step to establish an enduring, worldwide commitment to destroying terrorism and those who finance or give safe haven to the terrorists,” he said.
Jonathan said he would urge the United Nations General Assembly in September to establish a UN-coordinated system for sharing intelligence and, if necessary, special forces and law enforcement to confront terrorism wherever it occurs.
He said there are political, religious and ethnic cleavages in Nigeria to overcome “if we are to defeat Boko Haram”.
“We need greater understanding and outreach between Muslims and Christians. We also know that, as it seeks to recruit the gullible, Boko Haram exploits the economic disparities that remain a problem in our country.
“We are addressing these challenges through such steps as bringing stakeholders together and creating a safe schools initiative, a victims’ support fund and a presidential economic recovery programme for north-eastern Nigeria.
“We are also committed to ridding our country of corruption and safeguarding human and civil rights and the rule of law,” he said.
He said that something positive could come out of the situation in Nigeria, over the return of the Chibok girls, including a new international cooperation to deny havens to terrorists and destroy their organisations wherever they are.
“Those who value humanity, civilisation and the innocence of children can do no less,” he said.