By Ben Agande, Abuja.
President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday responded to strident criticisms from Nigerians over his decision to travel to Brasil while crises were raging on in Yobe and Kaduna states saying that he did not abandoned his responsibility.
The decision by president Jonathan to travel to Brasil while churches were being bombed in Kaduna state has attracted criticism from a cross section of Nigerians with the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria accusing him of insensitivity.
But in a statement issued from Brazil, the Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Reuben Abati said before leaving for the United Nation’s Earth Summit Rio+20 in Brazil, the president met with security chiefs and he was confident that security agencies were on top of the situation before his departure Tuesday.
According to Dr. Abati, the president needed to attend the conference because of its importance to Nigeria and because commitments had already been made on his attendance.
The Special Adviser noted that “The conference, Rio+20, is very important and nobody can doubt that.
The issues that will be discussed at this conference are also issues that are relevant to Nigeria’s interest. It is also an opportunity for Nigeria to promote its interest in terms of its place in global community.
“The crisis in Kaduna and Yobe occurred almost on the eve of the President’s departure for this event and commitments have been made.
“In any event, it is not as if government has abandoned the situation at home. Security agencies are there, they are on top of the situation.
“Before the President left, he met with security chiefs. The business of leadership cannot just stop because there is a crisis there.
“I think what we can do is to appeal to the opposition not to always play politics with everything; that is the major challenge we face, people always want to play politics with everything.
“If the President had refused to come to Rio, the same persons will turn around and say that there is an important conference attended by world leaders and the Nigerian President stayed away from it.
“It is as if there is nothing you can do to please our people. It is not that Nigeria is going to lose anything by Mr. President’s presence here rather, the country is going to gain a lot from his presence here.
“He is here serving the interest of Nigerians, it is not as if he has abandoned his responsibilities” he pointed out.