The meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign group and the Chibok community ended with mixed feelings as the President failed to convince that the girls must be back. The words of the President Buhari to the Chibok Girls campaign members yesterday however, neither calmed their nerves nor gave them any rays of hope that their girls would come back to them as he said:
“God knows I have done my best and I will continue to do my best.”
President Buhari however, accepted the responsibility and pledged to remain completely devoted to his solemn promise of ensuring the release and safe return of the 219 Chibok girls. The meeting was held at the Banquet Hall of the State house, had in attendance also some parents of the abducted Chibok school girls. The missing girls were students who were kidnapped from their dormitory at Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno state in April 2014.
The President further issued fresh orders to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Munguno, to begin fresh investigations into the abduction of the girls. According to him:
“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.”
Buhari blamed the Chibok girls situation on the past administration due to their failure to purchase the needed weapons necessary for combating insurgency in Nigeria.
The parents of the kidnapped girls who could not hold back their tears, wept uncontrollably at the meeting.
The President attended the meeting in the company of 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, Major Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd).
In his speech, the Chief of Defence Staff told the meeting that within the last three months, the military has freed more than 3000 people kidnapped by Boko Haram in the North eastern part of the country.
He said that the military was able 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.”