He made this statement barely a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari said the government was in touch with abductors of the girls.
Speaking to Voice of America’s Hausa service, monitored in Yola, yesterday, a retired brigadier general, Mr. Ali said the military was committed to finding the girls, adding that all Boko Haram’s hideouts in Sambisa Forest were being searched by the military for the girls.
He compared the inability to find the girls, despite retaking most of the territory initially occupied by Boko Haram, to the case of US efforts to find Osama bin Laden after the invasion of Afghanistan.
Minister of Defence also reacting to the abduction on the VOA programme, an Islamic cleric, Nuru Khalid, a member of the influential Interfaith group that tries to ensure peace between Nigerian Muslims and Christians, said failure to find the girls would translate to a victory for Boko Haram.
Mansur Dan Ali
“It took the US up to seven, eight, up to 10 years before they could get to bin Laden. We are continuing our campaign in the Sambisa Forest in all its nooks and corners.
“We can never allow the terrorists to win the war. If they got (away) free with those girls, then they have relatively won the war.”
Similarly, human rights lawyer, Bulama Bukar, said the government needed to address the psychological trauma suffered by the families of the missing girls and other victims of Boko Haram brutality.
He mentioned that due to the effects of Boko Haram’s killings and abductions, married women have been made single again; kids have been orphaned; homeowners are without shelter, and some Nigerians have been turned into refugees in their own homeland.
It’s been three years now since the abduction of the girls. Recall that Boko Haram kidnapped 276 students from a government secondary school in the north-eastern town of Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014.
About 195 of the girls are still missing and are believed to be in the custody of insurgents, whose activities have caused the death of about 100,000 people since 2009.
President Buhari, in his statement to mark the three years abduction of the Chibok girls, had pledged that his administration will do everything possible to ensure the freedom of the girls.