By Winifred Bulus
The federal government of Nigeria has rebuked its former President, Goodluck Jonathan, from criticizing the current administration for being unable to find the abducted Chibok girls.
The 276 girls were abducted from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, North-Eastern, Nigeria on 14 April, 2015.
A foreign newspaper allegedly revealed that former President Goodluck Jonathan refused help by British Armed forces to help the country rescue the Chibok girls, though the former President on the other hand denied the allegation and claimed the current administration was maliciously using the Chibok girls to play politics.
The country’s Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, revealed this in a statement, saying, ”While former President Jonathan reserves the right to defend his Administration, he should not engage in finger-pointing by saying, in a statement, that ‘some people who have obviously been playing politics with the issue of the Chibok girls will stop at nothing to further their interest.”
The Minister also accused Goodluck Jonathan of being guilty of playing politics with the girl’s lives saying, “After the girls were kidnapped and the Jonathan Administration did nothing for all of 15 days or make any determined efforts to rescue them thereafter, our party, the then opposition APC, told the nation several times that the whole Boko Haram crisis was allowed to escalate by the PDP-controlled Federal Government so they can use it as apolitical tool ahead of the 2015 elections.”
He noted that in a statement on 8 Sept. 2014, former President Jonathan-PDP’s political manipulation of the Boko Haram had to be understood as part of its poker-like calculus for clinging on to political power ahead of the 2015 elections.
He explained that the Boko Haram crisis was readily used by the PDP to rationalize the Jonathan government’s abdication of its constitutional responsibilities, including visits and assistance to areas affected as well as effective response to abductions.
”Two-and-a-half years after that statement, we have been vindicated by the report that claimed former President Jonathan rebuffed an attempt by the British government to help rescue the girls. We hope the former President will now refrain from stoking further controversy over the lingering abduction issue and allow the government of the day to focus on its ongoing negotiations to secure the release of the Chibok girls,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He said in 2014, after the Chibok Girls were abducted, former President Goodluck Jonathan in a meeting with their parents said the government was being careful in approaching the issue for fear of the girls losing their lives.
“Anyone who gives you the impression that we are aloof and that we are not doing what we are supposed to do to get the girls out is not being truthful. Our commitment is not just to get the girls out, it is also to rout Boko Haram completely from Nigeria,” former president Goodluck told the girls’ parents.
In the same year, the All Progressive Congress (APC) in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, now Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, accused the former President’s administration of being incapacitated in aspect of resuing the Chibok girls due to his prolonged silence after their abduction.
“It is cruel and unconscionable for anyone to use these girls as pawns on a political chess board. They have now been in captivity for over six full months. Please end the agony of the girls’ parents and indeed of all Nigerians.
“First, the then President waited for all of 19 days before even admitting that the girls have been abducted, losing a critical window of opportunity to rescue them from their abductors. When eventually he was forced by global pressure to admit that the abduction is real, Mr. President and his wife chose to subject the girls’ parents and others to untold verbal assault and mental torture,” he said.