Chibok girls being held in a distant forest —Jonathan •Defends administration’s handling of the issue

Posted by News Express | 15 April 2015 | 2,600 times

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Outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been defending his government's actions following the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants a year ago.

Speaking to the BBC, President Jonathan said he suspected the girls were still alive, and being held “in a distant forest.”

The abductions sparked global outrage, and although there have been reported sightings, their whereabouts remains unclear.

In a related development, News Express reports that the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, representing the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday met with representatives of the Chibok community to assure them of the federal government’s commitment to rescuing the abducted Chibok School girls and to also update them on the status of the safe school initiative.

She informed the representatives of the Chibok community that government has never relented in its efforts at the rescue of the Chibok school girls and has been pursuing a two-pronged approach: pursuing the release of the abducted girls as well as ensuring that the children at home are able to go back to schools that are safe and secure.

She noted that to fold hands and do nothing will approximate to accepting defeat which is exactly what Boko Haram whose agenda is to stop Nigerians from going to school wants.

The Permanent Secretary informed them that the architectural model of the Chibok Secondary is ready along with the budget and that the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers have been mobilised to commence construction. She however stated clearly that this is but part of the overall strategy of government for restoring sanity to the community but that the rescue of the girls remains the priority.

The DG National Orientation Agency, Mr Mike Omeri, also spoke to the representatives and assured them that the government has always considered the task of rescuing the girls a ‘top national priority’. He further them that government recognises the need to keep the parents of the girls and community informed on developments which led to the creation of the information center on which platform he has been disseminating periodic information to the public.

He also pointed out the recent efforts of the military which has led to the routing of Boko Haram from most of the territories that they formerly held and appealed for some more patience and support from the Chibok community considering the unconventional method of the warfare with Boko Haram. According to him, the government understands that “until we find the Chibok girls, we cannot say that we have done enough.”

The Representatives of the Chibok Community spoke passionately and encouraged the government to do all within its powers to secure the release of the girls while appreciating the efforts of government to reconstruct the school. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the pace of progress and urged government to expedite action on the rescue of the girls.

•Photo shows some of the abducted Chibok girls.

Source: News Express

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