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Published On: Mon, May 5th, 2014

Jonathan on abducted girls: FG not negotiating with Boko Haram

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jonathan-sadBy Ikechukwu Okaforadi & Umar Mohammed Puma

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said there is no negotiation yet with any group or person over how to secure a safe release of 234 school girls abducted by suspected insurgents from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno state last month.

Speaking during a Presidential Media Chat on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Jonathan said “you can’t negotiate with somebody you don’t know; nobody has claimed ownership of this abduction. Even in twitters or any of the social media that normally, the Boko Haram use to show what they have done…, you cannot negotiate with somebody who has not claimed ownership. So the issue of negotiation has not come up”.

He admitted that this period is a trying moment for the country in terms of security but assured that government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the nation come out stronger.

Jonathan also said from privileged information available to him, a lot of plans by the insurgents to kill and maim innocent Nigerians have been frustrated by the security forces even as he urged the parents of the abducted school girls to assist government with the photographs of the girls.

Speaking further, President Jonathan said the military had used helicopters and other scanning technology to scan the forests where the girls were allegedly kept, but could not locate them.

“I invited the Governor of Borno state, (Kashim Shettima) who came with the state’s Education Commissioner. We had a useful interaction with them and we assured Nigerians that wherever these girls are being kept, we will surely get them out.

“What we request from the parents is maximum co-operation, because they have not been able to come out clearly to give useful information to the police; the information we have from the police says 44 of them have returned, while the Principal mentioned to me last night that 53 have returned.

“But the ones that are yet to return, they have not come out clear on identity on it, and that is one of the reasons why I set up a committee to go to Chibok and find out. We are pleading that they should co-operate with government with the pictures of these girls and wherever they are, we are talking with the neigbouring countries so that wherever they take these girls to, we will surely get them back.

“All the information have been volunteered to us; we have used aircraft to search the places and see what is on the surface; we have scanned but we did not see anything. One good thing that has been happening for now is that there is no story that any of them has been hurt or injured”, President Jonathan said.

Speaking on the World Economic Forum beginning on Wednesday in Abuja, Jonathan said it was to avoid traffic congestion within the period due to inflow of foreigners.

He said Nigeria is not the first country to close down official activities due to a conference of such magnitude, adding that it had been done by in Netherlands, Australia and Darvos.

He expressed doubt on the claim by the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, that $20 billion was stollen from by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Jonathan who argued that given the quantum of the money, it could not be stollen or hidden without being noticed by the international community. He however promised that audit is still going on to ascertain the truthfulness or otherwise of the claim.

The President also ruled out the possibility of petroleum subsidy removal just as he maintained that he would not hesitate to do so even it would cost him his job provided that he is convinced.

Meanwhile, the President evaded the question on when he would declare his ambition to contest the Presidency in 2015. According to him, what should be the concerns of Nigerians now should be how to secure the country till the 2105 general elections date.

 

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