June 18, 2014

Obasanjo not sincere about Chibok girls – Presidency

Obasanjo, Jonathan

Jonathan and Obasanjo

By Ben Agande, Abuja.

The presidency yesterday dismissed claims by the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo that he was awaiting the approval of President Goodluck Jonathan to negotiate with Boko Haram members on the possible release of the secondary school girls abducted in Chibok more than a month ago saying that if the former president was serious, he would have formally informed the federal government of his efforts.

Former President Obasanjo has repeatedly claimed that he was in touch with the abductors of the Chibok girls and could negotiate their release if he gets the go ahead of the president.Obasanjo-Jonathan3

But in an interview with Vanguard yesterday, a senior official of government said the former president was not sincere in his claim as he has restricted it to the media.

The official who insisted that he remains anonymous because he is not authorized to speak on the matter noted that what the former president is doing ‘amounts to grandstanding’ in order to portray a ‘messianic image among Nigerians’.

“It is obvious that what the former president is doing is just for media attention and there is no sincerity in it. The former president has unfettered access to the president. Why has he not sought an appointment with him to discuss the issue? Why should the former president resort to the media on such a weighty issue? This is mere grandstanding” the source said.

He added: “if the federal government has accepted the offer of assistance from other world leaders to rescue the chibok girls, will it turn down an offer of assistance from a former president of this country? The president is committed to getting the girls back and anybody that can assist in achieving that will be welcome.

“To show you that former president Obasanjo is not sincere” the source added, “president Jonathan recently summoned a meeting of former heads of state recently to discuss the Chibok girls abduction, all of them except Obasanjo attended. Even General Babangida who did not attend because he was bereaved sent in his inputs. Why did he not attend the meeting of the former heads of state with the president and the governor of Borno state? Is that a hallmark of somebody who is sincere?” the source queried.

Meanwhile, the Presidential fact finding committee on the abduction of the Chibok Girls may submit its report today.

It would be recalled that President Jonathan inaugurated the Fact Finding Committee chaired by Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo on the 16th May, 2014 to among other things liaise with the Borno State Government and establish the circumstances leading to the School remaining open for boarding students when other schools were closed; to liaise with relevant authorities and the parents of the missing girls to ‎establish the actual number and identities of the girls abducted; and to interface with the Security Services and Borno State Government ‎to ascertain how many of the missing girls have returned.