At a time when urgent action is needed, President Goodluck Jonathan has relapsed into his past time by setting up a so called presidential committee for the rescue of the over 200 secondary schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno state since April 15. It does not seem to matter to the president that while his committee is wasting precious time sitting around a conference table to map out how to go about the rescue job, the ordeal of the hapless girls and their parents only gets worse.
It is disheartening that it has taken this long for the president to be jolted into this act that is evidently not going to achieve much. After all, reports have it that the girls may have been ferried out into neighbouring countries already with strong indications that they may have been married off to militants who have dispersed into Chad and Niger republics. What has become obvious is that the knee jerk approach of the president must have been prompted by the coordinated protests by women groups in different parts of the country to force the federal government into taking practical steps to rescue the girls. Added to this is the embarrassment the kidnap has caused the government in the international community particularly as it is desperately trying to pull all the stops to host the World Economic Forum.
While announcing the 17- member committee which is headed by Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, read out the terms of reference of the committee’s work to include; “To liaise with the Borno state government and establish the circumstances leading to the school remaining open for boarding students when other schools were closed.” And “To liaise with relevant authorities and the parents of the missing girls to establish the actual number and identities of the girls abducted.”
Others include; To interface with the Security Services and Borno State Government to ascertain how many of the missing girls have returned; To mobilise the surrounding communities and the general public on citizen support for a rescue strategy and operation; To articulate a framework for a multi-stakeholder action for the rescue of the missing girls.”
We at Peoples Daily are sad that going by the terms of reference of this committee, the Jonathan government has demonstrated once again that it cannot read the mood of the nation and gauge correctly the urgency needed to tackle the problem at hand. Evidently, since the girls were kidnapped two weeks ago, the security agencies have not had any lead on their whereabouts, let a lone a plan for their rescue. Why would the committee be concerned at this stage about finding out the number and identities of the girls? Is it that the government is also in doubt about the kidnap as the PDP Women Leader, Kema Chikwe, who said so last week? Can we conclude now that she was speaking the mind of President Jonathan and his inner circle?
The abduction of the girls has demonstrated, for the umpteenth time, the woeful failure that the Jonathan administration has become. Its ineptitude is evident in all aspects that have to do with the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians. Since the BoniYadi incident, for instance, where students were massacred in their sleep, the Keana village killings where men dressed in military uniform attacked a Fulani settlement and went on a killing spree to the first and second Nyanya bombings and many similar bombings and attacks in the past, the government has failed to provide Nigerians any tangible proof that it is in control of the situation. Instead, it only heaps blame on the opposition with the president promising Nigerians at every opportunity that BokoHaram will be defeated. It is time he admitted his incompetence; maybe that way a few precious lives can be saved.