Posted by News Express | 30 May 2014 | 3,483 times
“I will be pleasantly surprised if those girls are returned intact.” That was former President Olusegun Obasanjo weighing in yesterday on the fate of the over 200 girls abducted April 14 by Boko Haram from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
Obasanjo, who days ago met with some persons close to members of the Boko Haram, was speaking to Channels Television at his hill top residence. He revealed that he was making moves to reach President Goodluck Jonathan before holding talks on the Chibok girls “but was surprised at how certain meetings have turned out.”
“I cannot have a plan without the Presidency being involved,” Obasanjo said, debunking claims that he was “going on a one-man mission.” He insisted that it would be “idiotic” for him to have done so.
He noted that he was beaten by Shehu Sani to letting the state and national authorities know the meeting had taken place and admitted that he owed them an apology. He added: “I have to involve the President and he also tells me this is what we are doing or this is what we are pursuing either in addition or along with what we are doing or not.”
On the allegation that the abduction of the girls was orchestrated to bring down the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, the retired general said: “If the Presidency is obsessed with one thing and one thing only and any other thing of concern to Nigeria is secondary then the Presidency will take that position,” adding that this “will be unfortunate.”
General Obasanjo further noted: “Boko Haram have been in existence for years…they didn’t disturb my government because when I was in government I did not disturb their Sharia.” He declared: “Sharia is part of our constitution.”
Obasanjo also reacted to claims by the military that they had located the place where the abducted Chibok girls were being kept by members of the radical Boko Haram sect.
Reacting to comments made by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, on the whereabouts of the abducted girls, he urged the military not to engage in Public Relations stunts with the Chibok girls’ issue.
“This is not an issue that you will play Public Relations propaganda with. It is a serious issue that is like a spear in the heart of the parents and whatever statement we make and action we take, if it will not really deal with the issue in a way that will bring those girls out safe and secure and make their families happy and will also give every Nigerian a sense of security, then such statements should not be made,” he said.
He further argued that the American forces also have the means to confirm or debunk the statement made by Air Marshal Badeh over the location of the girls.
•Adapted from a Channels TV report. Photo shows Obasanjo.
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