By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—Following recent claims by BringBackOurGirls that President Muhammadu Buhari had “broken all promises” made to the group about rescuing the missing Chibok girls, the Presidency yesterday assured the group that the government was not relenting in its effort to rescue the missing girls.
The Presidency also stated that the government had not been “lackadaisical” in the rescue mission.
While declaring that President Buhari would not make bogus promises to BBOG in particular and Nigerians in general, the Presidency urged the BBOG to have confidence in the government.
Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made the appeal in a statement yesterday.
Shehu said there had been military onslaught in the Sambisa forest which led to the rescue of many captives.
He also said government was open for a renewed cooperation with the group and the international community.
The statement read in part: “The Presidency will like to appeal to the officials and members of the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, campaign group not to waver in their support for the government in the war against terrorism and in the ongoing effort to free all Nigerian citizens taken captive by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“The past year of this administration has seen the Nigerian military step up bombardment of the Sambisa Forest, a stronghold of the Boko Haram terrorist group, leading to the capture of hundreds of insurgents.
“Also, records from the Army show the rescue of no fewer than 15,000 captives, mostly women and children from the terrorists from February to date. In addition, dozens of communities that were previously under the control of the terrorists have been liberated, allowing thousands of previously displaced citizens to return home and resume their normal lives.
“Thousands of these women and children freed from captivity have also been reunited with their families.
“This huge number of rescued women and children may not be prominent names, and their disappearance may not have generated any massive media attention and campaign.
“However, their liberation is just as important as that of every other missing woman and child, and a testament to the devotion of our military personnel who daily risk life and limb in the effort to bring back every Nigerian citizen kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists.
“Along with these ongoing efforts to rid our country of terrorists and terrorism, the Nigerian government is focused on the welfare and rehabilitation of rescued Nigerians, many of whom were found in a state of severe malnutrition and illness.
“While their intentions are honourable, perhaps the BBOG leadership have not considered the collateral damage which must inevitably follow its riveting and dispiriting claim that the President has “broken all promises” allegedly made to the group on this issue. Or that he has been “lackadaisical” in rescuing the Chibok girls. The Federal Government’s focus has always been to free the Chibok girls alive and unharmed.