I Know Where the Abducted Girls Are – Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he knows the whereabouts of the abducted schoolgirls of Chibok, Borno State.
The president said this in Abuja Friday while addressing the world press conference at the end of the World Economic Forum on Africa.
He said the schoolgirls and their abductors are inside the Sambisa forest in Borno State.
Jonathan maintained that if the abductors had moved such number of schoolgirls to Cameroon as reported, they (the captives and the captors) would have been seen.
“The attackers are in a part of Borno State described as Sambisa forest. It is a forest area and we are working with the experts that will use remote sensor to see that wherever they are, we will see.
“So, the best we can say is that they are within the Sambisa forest area. I agree that there are stories that they have moved outside the country, but if they moved that number of girls to Cameroon, people would see. So, I believe that they are still within Nigeria”, Jonathan said.
This is barely a week after the president said during a media chat that he did not know the girls’ whereabouts.
Jonathan also said that the abduction of schoolgirls of Chibok, Borno State, is giving him sleepless nights.
The president, who again empathised with the parents of the abducted girls, said not only did he feel pained over the incident, but also could not sleep with his two eyes closed and would not do so until the girls are rescued safely.
“We plead with the parents. As a father and the president of this country, I feel pained and I don’t sleep with my two eyes closed and I will not sleep with my two eyes closed until these girls are brought safely back to their parents”, he said.
Thanking world leaders and Nigerians for their commitment and concerns over the girls’ abduction, Jonathan urged that protests should continue until the terrorists release the captives, saying the captors have no hiding place.
“Let me also use this unique opportunity to thank all of you that have shown commitment and concern, those of you in Nigeria and those of you outside this country, to continue to press on that these terrorists must bring back our girls. They’ve no choice because I’m quite pleased that the whole world is sending the same message that they must bring back our girls. And there is no where they’ll take these girls to. They’ve no hiding place. We must work with the global community that is quite keen to make sure that we bring back these girls”, he said.
He said apart from being in touch with the presidents of the US, Chinese, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Benin; he was also discussing with the leaders of North and Central African regions for support.
He disclosed that security personnel of a number of countries had already arrived Nigeria for assistance, saying “collectively, we must find these girls”.
The president denied that he was slow in responding to the abduction, saying “there is no slow response at all, no, no. It’s a misconception. The response is not slow. I’ve explained this. Borno State can be described as the headquarters of the terrorists, Boko Haram. They’re more in Borno State, then followed by Yobe and Adamawa. These are the three states we’ve declared state of emergency. So they’ve military personnel in that state. Immediately this happened, they’ve been following it. Both the army and the air force have been combing.
“The only thing we didn’t do because we felt it was not necessary then was to video the aircraft moving, the military people moving and the fighter helicopters. We didn’t do the video because the people were on ground because of the state of emergency, because of these terrorists. That is why people thought it was slow. No, it was not. We started work immediately. It was not slow. The Nigerian government responded immediately. If somebody gives you the impression that government is slow, that is not correct”.
Jonathan thanked the world leaders and the participants of the economic forum for coming to Nigeria at a time the nation was facing terrorist attacks, noting that if they had not come, people would have thought that Abuja was not safe.
“If they did not come, people would think that you can’t even spend a night in Abuja. But at least, you’ve been here with us for the period and you’ve seen that the country is moving. Yes, we’ve challenges, but we’re going to move on”, he said.
He said it was only the finance minister that could give an accurate amount of what Nigeria spent to host the economic forum.
On whether there is a political solution to terrorism, the president said Boko Haram insurgency was neither a political nor economic problem.
He said before the 9/11 attacks on the US, the whole world did not know that terror could be very devastating, stressing that
“terrorists are no ordinary criminals. Their own is based on false ideology, religious sentiments, political sentiments or some kind of liberation issues. So, it’s not simply political, but it is complex, even much more than politics. Basically, we need to combine so many different factors to resolve the terror crisis…So, terrorists must also know that they can’t do certain things and get away with it.
“…The only thing is that when people get involved in suicide bombing, that means they’re ready to die. So, arresting them doesn’t really stop them because of the way they’ve been able to brainwash their followers. Yes, political solution is there, some elements of politics is there, but terror all over the world is beyond politics and economy. Sometimes, people say it’s the economic situation in the country. Yes, we’ve poor people around the world even in Nigeria; but terrorism is a little beyond poverty.
“Because if you see the weapons they’re using,the vehicles, even to sustain that army, and the logistics, their movement and fuel they need, the food they need; that means a lot of money is coming in from one source or the other. So, it’s just not the issue of poverty. Yes, we agree when young people have no source of income, the likelihood of criminals recruiting them into criminal gangs are higher than in a society where they’ve means of income, and we’re addressing it.
We’re co-operating with state governments on programmes”.
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