Reuben Abati Gives Update on Jonathan’s Meeting with Chibok Parents and Escapee Girls
Ninety-nine days after over 200 girls were abducted by members of the Boko Haram sect from Government Secondary School Chibok, President Goodlcuk Jonathan o Tuesday met with the parents of the girls, 51 of escapees and some other members of Chibok community at the presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting started with the arrival of Jonathan who was joined at the meeting by the President of the Senate, David Mark; Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State; Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State; members of the Federal Executive Council as well as security chiefs among others.
Immediately the meeting commenced at about 11.20am, journalists were asked to leave the venue.
The doors were only re-opened for journalists shortly after the President had made his closing remarks only for photojournalists to capture him in a group photograph with the escaped girls.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, later told State House correspondents that the meeting was an interactive session during which the President had the opportunity to listen first-hand to the various categories of persons.
Abati described the meeting as a successful event and a good development because the President had always been looking forward to such an opportunity, having met with other stakeholders on the matter before then.
The presidential spokesman said, “Statements were made by all the representatives of people. They spoke their minds and conveyed their feelings to the President.
“The girls who escaped also gave an account of what they went through. Mr. President reassured them of the Federal Government’s determination and his own personal determination to ensure that the girls that are still in captivity are brought out alive.
“That is the main objective of the government. Mr. President also used the opportunity to empathise with the parents and the girls and to reassure them that everything will be done to make things easier for them, especially those who have escaped and the ones that will also be rescued, that their education will not in anyway suffer and he is convinced that evil will never prevail over good.
“Mr. President further assured them that after the battle has been won and the girls are brought back home, he, together with the parents and the state government will focus on development, on building Chibok, on building all that the terrorists had destroyed and on ensuring that every child, either in Chibok or in any other part of the country, has his/her dream realised.
“At the end of the meeting, the parents are happy. Everybody is in high spirit.”
Abati added that Jonathan told the gathering that government would ensure that the girls’ eduction is not truncated.
To this end, he said efforts were being made to place the escaped girls in other schools.
He said Jonathan urged them not to be afraid about their future because everything would be done to protect their right to education.
On media reports that most of the real parents of the abducted girls were not part of the meeting, Abati said the parents who attended made it clear that they are representatives of other parents.
He said over 200 people attended the meeting from Chibok.
“The girls spoke in great details about their experiences and their observations. It was an open and frank session in which everybody expressed their minds,” he concluded.