President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, condemned in strong terms the insinuation by some Nigerians that he was slow in bringing back the abducted girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
He stated this while addressing the protesters from #Bring Back Our Girls campaign group in Abuja.
He said he was not slow in acting because he was in constant discussions with security chiefs on a daily basis as well as having constant consultations with regional and global partners on the terrorist threats.
According to him, the Federal Government took action from the first day the girls were abducted, and directed the security services to go after the abductors, noting that the search for the girls had now assumed regional and global proportion and that Nigeria had received strong support from neighbouring countries and the international community, including the United States, China, the United Kingdom and the entire African continent.
“It is wrong and most unfair to suggest that there has been slow reaction to this kidnapping. From the very first day this occurred, the Federal Government took action directed our security services to go after the abductors. The search for our daughters has now assumed regional and global proportion and our nation has received strong support from neighbouring countries and international communities
“We are working hard with other nations in order to secure the release of the girls as soon as possible”, the president said.
Members of the president’s cabinet, who met the protesters include: Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, FCT Minister, Bala Muhammed, Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, Minister of Environment, Mrs. Lawrencia Laraba-Mallam, Minister of Niger-Delta, Mr. Darius Ishaku,Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, Senior Assistant to the President on media, Dr. Rueben Abati and the Senior Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Dorun Okukpe among others.
In the speech read by the Minister of State FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, the president further explained that federal government as part of efforts to rescue the abducted girls had mobilized all resources, military and diplomatic in the search for our girls.
He added that the security forces also had reached out to the Borno State government and community members for support and collaboration to bring back the girls, adding that the search for the girls is receiving support.
“So far, the search for our girls is on and is receiving global support. Nigeria in collaboration with Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin republic have all agreed to establish a single centre for sharing intelligence on the activities of terrorist across our national boundaries. Apart from those efforts in the public space, the President said federal government had initiated consultations with so many stakeholders to explore alternative matters of resolving this crisis.
“As commander in chief, I meet with security chiefs almost daily and is in constant consultations with regional and global partners on this terrorist threats. As early as January 23 2013, I asked the world help in tackling terrorism, I later met with President Obama during the United Nations Assembly meeting in September 2013, where also I requested for the support of the United States of America.
“Government belief we must all come together to fight terrorism and that protest should be directed to the terrorists who have abducted our girls. Our security men are among the best trained in Africa, they are making so much sacrifice in the fight against terror,” he said.
Responding to the president’s speech, one of the leaders of the group and former minister of education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, said the group felt disappointed for not meeting with the President stating that none of the issues raised in their letter was addressed in his speech and sought for another audience with him, describing the meeting as a colossal missed opportunity.
“Let Mr. President know that none of the issues raised have been addressed. We actually felt sad at the missed opportunity, there is a colossal missed opportunity but citizens that gathered here today are citizens who are saying, we do not want any fractious fight against the common enemy. That we want a united fight.
“We are not the type that you should be telling about the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. We will demand from President another opportunity of a meeting of addressing the issues that citizens have put before our commander in Chief. We seek the opportunity of a united nation inspired, mobilised and sincerely spoken to and we want to have that discussion and end to terrorism,” she posited.