Chibok Girls: Buhari Orders Fresh Investigation | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Chibok Girls: Buhari Orders Fresh Investigation

Posted: Jan 15, 2016 at 10:48 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered immediate investigation into the kidnap of 219 girls from Government Secondary in Chibok, Borno State in 2014.

The directive followed pressure from the #Bring- BackOurGirls campaigners and parents of the missing girls who are currently frustrated over the continued stay of the girls in the hands of their captors. Buhari was, yesterday, compelled to meet the leadership of the #BringBack- OurGirls group and some parents of the kidnapped girls at the presidential villa after they staged a protest to the seat of power.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, said during the closed-door meeting, which held at the banquet hall, Buhari directed the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Mongunu to set up a special panel soon to investigate the incident.

Shehu said the investigation will, among other things, seek to unravel the remote and immediate circumstances leading to the kidnap of the girls by Boko Haram terrorists, as well as the other events, actions and inactions that followed the incident.

While meeting the group, Buhari 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.

During the meeting, the president said that he remained fully committed to his pledge to do all within his powers to save the girls. He said: “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-organised 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 reorganise 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.” He said: “This is a Nigeria where we were exporting average of two million barrels per day at over $140 per barrel.

Now it is down to about $27 to $30. “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,” Buhari said. The president was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali; Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Al- Hassan; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai and the NSA, 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 3,000 people kidnapped by Boko Haram in the North- East. 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 jeopardise the lives of the girls.”

The #BringBackOur- Girls movement and parents of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls had stormed the Aso Rock Villa at about the same time the president was hosting the President of Benin Republic, Boni Yayi, and insisted on having an audience with the Nigerien leader.

The group and about 37 parents of the girls led by former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, began a protest match from the Unity Fountain located around the Central Business District in Abuja before they were stopped by security personnel at the entrance to the villa.

They were later convened in large capacity buses for the meeting with representatives of the Federal Government, including Olonisakin, Al- Hassan, Monguno and Ali, at the banquet hall.

Both the leader of the campaigners and the parents refused to make any comments until the president was invited to attend the meeting. It was gathered that few minutes after, the NSA drove to the president’s office and invited him to personally meet with the group.

Before the president’s arrival, the leader of the group expressed disappointment to government’s representatives who received them, insisting that “our Chibok girls are neither rescued nor have the measures the Federal Government pledged been instituted.”