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10 questions Jonathan must answer on abducted Chibok girls —Ezekwesili, coalition

By News Express on 23/05/2014

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Though denied access to Aso Rock and to President Goodluck Jonathan, the #BringBackOurGirls coalition led by former Minister of Education Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, nonetheless, passed its message to the Nigerian through a delegation led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.

Below are ten posers for the President Jonathan as contained in a letter delivered on behalf of the coalition by Mrs. Mariam Uwais:

•We need the President to establish the authenticity of the abduction as well as why it took so long to act, as there seem to be an obvious shortfall in our military operatives as well as their welfare package considering the recent mutiny, and citizens are concerned especially in view of the strong indications of weak communication and operational synergy leading to gaps in accountability.

•Considering the overwhelming international support we are receiving from other countries, we the citizens need latest operational updates on these interventions especially from the United States as conveyed during the congressional hearing.

•Why has the President not visited Chibok since the abduction considering that it is your responsibility to commiserate with the families and the Chibok community by visiting them? Also, what specific plan does the President have to ensure full rehabilitation of the returned girls, the girls yet to be rescued upon their return, their families, and the Chibok community as a whole?

•What are the specific actions that have been taken since your return from Paris that gives the confidence that our neighbours, especially Cameroun, will cooperate with us and comply with all agreed actions?

•How effective is the state of emergency? Despite the existence of SOE, we are concerned that it was possible to abduct over 200 girls.

•Some of the residents of Chibok confirmed that they informed relevant security agents hours before the actual abduction, yet commensurate actions were not taken; now that the SOE has been extended in affected states, including Borno State, what would be the difference going forward?

•Will government negotiate to secure the release of our girls?

•What is the collaboration between the federal government and the state government in rescue effort for our girls? This is in consideration of the fact that citizens had anxiously anticipated that you would inspire us all to become united and support you and the Federal Government so we can collectively fight out common enemy.

•Why is it that none of the girls have been rescued by the military? Could the problem be resources as we are concerned that allocated resources to our security apparatus (N922 billion in 2012, N1 trillion in 2013, and N845 billion in 2014) do not seem to correspond with the result delivered by those at the frontline to effectively wage this way against terrorism?

•What are the minimum safety/security standards and packages dedicated to schools and other soft targets considering the recent trend of abducting and killings of students, particularly in the North? Can the President explain the scale and magnitude of what we are dealing with in terms of the insurgents?

Below is Jonathan’s response as delivered by the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide: “The Federal government is appreciative of your group amongst so many other groups around the world who have taken out time to demonstrate their solidarity and outrage against the wicked kidnapping of innocent girls and the senseless mayhem of the Boko Haram terrorists.

“For a government that has placed so much premium on addressing major reforms and development in the nation, especially the development of women and the girl child, through increased investment in the girl child education and giving opportunity to women, giving women a seat in the table of governance, this wicked act is indeed very painful.

“The world is under the grips of terrorism. Yesterday a market in China were ordinary people go to shop was bombed. Two days ago, terrorists visited  our beautiful city of Jos in Plateau state and detonated bombs killing scores of people, the communities of Kano, Maiduguri, Abuja, Nyanya, Madala amongst others have at various times been bombed.

“Churches, Mosques, parks and newspaper houses have at various times not being spared. Terrorists and their sponsors have brought mayhem on our land this is very sad and this we must resist.

“In the last three weeks our country has been in the spotlight, some evil individuals who call themselves Boko Haram abducted our daughters, the future mothers of our nation and have refused to release them, this evil act has sparked protests all over the world, this is as it should be, there must be a united movement for the release of our daughters and that movement must now be turned into a united action against terrorism.

“Government has mobilised all resources, military and diplomatic in search for our girls who have suffered so much trauma in captivity by this agents of terror.

“From the very first day this kidnapping occurred, the Federal Government took action, directing 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 our neighboring   and the international community including the United States, China, the United Kingdom and the entire African continent, the security forces also reached out to the Borno State Government and community members for support and collaboration to bring back our innocent daughters.

“So far the campaign to bring our daughters back 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 terrorists across our national boundaries.

“Apart from those efforts in the public space, we have initiated consultations with so many stakeholders to explore alternative efforts involving this efforts, it is wrong and most unfair to suggest there is a slow reaction to this kidnapping.

“As commander in chief, Mr. President meets with the security chiefs almost daily and is in constant consultation with regional and global partners on this terrorist threats. That is why I want to appeal to your group and to others through this medium that it is important your genuine, patriotic zeal is matched with a realistic, understanding of the situation in expressing concern and sentiment on this matter and other matters of terrorism.

“As early as January 23rd 2013, Mr. President at Denver, Switzerland asked the world for help in tackling terrorism, he later met with President Obama during the United Nations general assembly in Sept. 2013 where he requested for support.

“Government believes that it is all our collective responsibility to fight terrorism and that protests should be directed to the terrorists who have abducted our innocent daughters and deprived them of a place at the fountain of freedom at the country. Our security forces are amongst the best trained in Africa, they are making so much sacrifice in the fight against terror as we sleep daily they are in the field, confronting the enemy, they need our support not  attacks and discouragement. They are also losing their lives, when terrorist see Nigerians turn on each other in blames it gives them a huge moral boosts.

“We must never lose sight of the fact that the terrorists are the real enemy. We will like to encourage civil society groups to encourage Nigerians to forward security information to 112, citizens must protect citizens if our civilisation is to endure. We must be careful not to politicize the fight against terrorism.

“When a bomb goes off in Kabul Afghanistan the people of Afghanistan do not blame government, they blame the terrorists, when a bomb goes off in Bagdad people of Iraq do not blame the government, they blame the terrorists, when a bomb goes off in Nigeria we must all unite to fight the terrorists this is the task of this generation. Our daughters must be free to come home to their loved ones.”

Other members of the delegation that received the protesters after they were blocked at the Federal Secretariat/Eagle Square by the police included Ministers of FCT (Bala Mohammed); Information (Labaran Maku); Women Affairs (Aisha Maina); Environment (Mrs. Laurentia Mallam); Supervising Minister of Niger Delta Affairs (Darius Ishaku); and Minister of State for Agriculture, Asmau Asabe.

Others were Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe; Special Adviser to the President on Job Creation, Josephine Washima; and Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values, Sarah Jibril.

•Photo shows the Presidential Delegation listening as Ezekwesili addressed the protesters . . . yesterday in Abuja.

Source News Express

Posted 23/05/2014 4:48:04 PM


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