Monday, May 5, 2014

We Don’t Know Where the Girls Are – President Goodluck Jonathan Confesses

The matter is getting more complicated by the day. Three weeks after over 200 schoolgirls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, President Goodluck Jonathan has said his Government does not know their whereabouts.

President Jonathan said, “We actually request maximum cooperation from the guardians and the parents of these girls because up till this time, they have not been able to come and give the Police clear identity of the girls that have yet to return.

“We are pleading that they should cooperate with the government. We need the identity of these girls and wherever they are, we are talking to all the neighbouring countries – Cameroon, Chad and Benin Republic, as well as some countries in North Africa – so that wherever they take these girls, we will get them back if we get the maximum cooperation of the parents and guardians.

“All the information that have been volunteered to us (about their location, we’ve used) and we have searched the places. We are using aircraft – helicopters and planes – that have the ability to scan and see what is on the surface. And we have scanned, but we have nothing.”

He said this on Sunday during the Presidential Media Chat. Asked if there was any confirmed information on the location where the kidnapped schoolgirls are kept, Jonathan replied, “None; there is none.”

The President, who said that security operatives are engaged in a massive search for the girls, and explained that information so far provided to security operatives yielded nothing.

On the possibility to negotiate with Boko Haram, he said, “You can’t negotiate with somebody you don’t know; nobody has claimed knowledge of the abduction. Even on the social media that the Boko Haram uses to show what they have done…. As regards these girls, we have not seen such. Even the spokesperson for Boko Haram has not come to tell Nigerians that they did the kidnapping. So, the issue of negotiation has not come up.”

He also spoke on the probe of Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison- Madueke, over the N10bn she spent on a chartered jet, the security measures in place for the World Economic Forum, the power sector reforms and the 2015 elections.
Regardless of the challenges being faced in a bid to rescue the girls, Jonathan said it would not end up as one of the many unsolved mystery in the country.
He said his government can't adopt the approach used to resolve the Niger-Delta crisis on Boko Haram.

“The Niger Delta militants approach was quite different from that of the terrorists. The Niger Delta militants were not terrorists. I am not trying to defend them because I am from there. Even when I was Deputy Governor and a Governor, the then President (Olusegun) Obasanjo sometimes sent for us. And some of the leaders of those boys (militants) used to come. You were hearing that they were agitators in the Niger-Delta and somebody like Asari (Dokubo) that is well known, I saw him for the first time in the State House when I came for a meeting with Chief Obasanjo. So, they had a reason for their agitation.”

On Alison-Madueke N10b fraud saga, he said:
“The information we have is that some organisations have questioned the rationale for the probe . But what I want you to know is that the parliament is made up of politicians. And if you have been following the issue especially in the House, you will know that there is more politics than work.
“I am not trying to protect anybody. Some people talk about jet. The Ministry of Petroleum Resources is one ministry that because of its activities people pay attention to it.

“The arrangement they have now whether it is costlier than what they used to have, we will find out. We are looking into it. But when somebody wakes up and says the ministry of petroleum is making use of a jet, the ministry of petroleum has always been using jets. Some government functionaries, you can go to the parliament, they have their own. Whether they hire or not, I don’t know. Only the judiciary is always mindful of what they do.”

So, the crux of the matter now is, who will save the situation? Or shall we continue like this?


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