President Muhammadu Buhari has told parents of the missing Chibok school girls that his government was yet to get any credible intelligence that can lead to the rescue of the girls.
The President said he had to keep telling the truth even though the issue of the girls had always been uppermost in his mind.
He also chided the #Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Campaigners for not appreciating efforts being made by his administration to fight the Boko Haram insurgents and get the 219 abducted Chibok girls rescued.
The President, according to the BBOG leader and former minister of solid minerals, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, who briefed State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with the President at the State House Conference Centre, said “he (President) would also have expected us to acknowledge the efforts that they have so far made and that we failed to acknowledge the efforts they have made, but that he wished that we would agree that he is very committed to the matter of our Chibok girls. He used the specific phrase that he sleeps and wakes up thinking about the rescue of our girls.”
The BBOG group had earlier insisted on meeting with the President even though a government delegation headed by the Minister of Women , Aishat Jummai Al-Hassan, had been mandated to meet them as Buhari was busy playing host to the President of Republic of Benin, Boni Yayi, in his office.
She also disclosed that the President stated as a matter of fact that his government was not in possession of any tangible intelligence report on the whereabouts of the abducted girls but gave the assurance that the search was ongoing.
She said, “Mr President subsequently came to join this meeting and what the President essentially said is that his statement during the media chat that they do not have credible intelligence that he was being truthful in the way that he knows how to be and that he
was not prepared to tell any lies. That they do not have the kind of reliable intelligence that would enable them rescue the girls as immediately as we are demanding and that therefore we would continue to try to bear with him.”
Asked the next line of action, Ezekwesili said “We would keep demanding as a movement for the action that is necessary to rescue our Chibok Girls. The second thing is that the feedback mechanism that we demanded for to enable the government interact frequently with the direct and primary owners of this tragedy, the parents of our Chibok girls and the community which has not been set up.
“We have now been told by the NSA and the minister of Defence that the mechanism would
be set up so that there would be a closer interaction that would enable the parents at all times to know the state and the progress that is being made.
“Number three is that the matter of investigation of exactly what happened that led to the abduction of our Chibok girls is critical. A number of the members of that community are insisting that the investigations that were not concluded by the previous administration in order to unearth some of the things that happened before our Chibok girls were taken captive.
“It is consistent with our movement demand that the General Sabo report, that is the Presidential fact finding committee report on our Chibok girls which was conducted
and delivered during the previous administration, it needs to be disclosed, it needs to be transparently open so that everyone would read what it was that the committee found during the course of their investigation. So we are demanding that this administration will quickly agree with the demands of these parents that new investigation be made even as General Sabo report is being disclosed,” she added.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an investigation into the theft of the 219 girls from Government Secondary in Chibok, Borno State.
The panel to investigate the incident which happened in April 2014 is soon to be named by the National Security Adviser, NSA, General Babagana Munguno.
The investigation will seek to, among other things, unravel the remote and immediate circumstances leading the kidnap of the girls by Boko Haram terrorists as well the other events, actions and inactions that followed the incident.
This came to light just as the President, in Abuja, assured parents of the Chibok girls that he has been doing his best and will continue to do everything possible to rescue them and re-unite them with their families.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu quoted the President as saying during the meeting: “I assure you that I go to bed and wake up every day with the Chibok girls on my mind.
“The unfortunate incident happened before this government came into being.
“What have we done since we assumed office? We re-organized the military, removed all the service chiefs and ordered the succeeding service chiefs to deal decisively with the Boko Haram insurgency.
“In spite of the terrible economic condition we found ourselves in, we tried to get some resources to give to the military to reorganize and equip, retrain, deploy more troops and move more forcefully against Boko Haram.
“And you all know the progress we have made. When we came in Boko Haram was in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. Boko Haram has now been reduced to areas around Lake Chad.
“Securing the Chibok girls is my responsibility. The service chiefs and heads of our security agencies will tell you that in spite of the dire financial straits that we found the country in, I continue to do my best to support their efforts in that regard.
“This is a Nigeria where we were exporting average of two million barrels per day at over 140 dollars per barrel. Now it is down to about 27 to 30 dollars.
“You have been reading in the press how they took public funds, our funds, your funds and shared it, instead of buying weapons. That was the kind of leadership I succeeded. That was the kind of economy I inherited.
“God knows I have done my best and I will continue to do my best,” President Buhari said.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd).
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence staff told the meeting that in the last three months the military has liberated more than 3000 people kidnapped by Boko Haram in the North eastern part of the country.
He said that the military had the ability to rescue the Chibok girls, but added that “intelligence is delicate and we don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the lives of the girls.”

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