By Henry Umoru
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark has taken a swipe at the Federal Government on its silence on the release of the remaining abducted Chibok girls who have been held captive since 2014 by members of the Boko Haram.
Speaking yesterday at his Asokoro residence, Abuja when parents of the Chibok girls visited him to appreciate the elder-statesman for his continued demand for their rescue, Chief Clark who described the ugly incident as sad and unfortunate, said that any government that fails to carry out its constitutional responsibility of providing welfare for the people as well as protect the lives of the people has failed.
Also present at the residence of Chief Clark was the former Federal Commissioner for Information and Culture during General Yakubu Gowon’s Administration, General Ibrahim Bata Malgwi Haruna, retd, who corroborated what the South South leader said, described the continued silence on the girls as saddening and most unfortunate.
General Haruna who was Chief Clark’s immediate successor in that administration, said that the government has failed in its responsibility against the backdrop that insecurity, rather than abating was increasing.
Speaking further, Clark who is the leader of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, regretted that Bring Back Our Girls campaign for the girls’ rescue during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration has since gone cold under the current administration.
Clark also regretted the inability of the Army to sweep the Sambisa forest and rescue the girls then, maintaining that it was an act designed to embarrass the Jonathan administration.
He said: “The question I asked was where did they take them to, even if it’s Sambisa forest. Why couldn’t the army go into the forest; every part of it, who were they afraid of? Let’s pray to God that one day God will answer our prayers. What bothers me is the way or manner nobody is talking. The Bring Back Our Girls was loud during Jonathan time. The kidnappers knew that taking the girls away would embarrass the Jonathan government. How they managed to get more vehicles to take them away, how many hours, these are things the government should investigate to find out, because we are talking about over a hundred school girls.
“When an American man was kidnapped here in Nigeria, the Americans came all the way from America and released this man from where he was kept. One hundred girls were missing and we are not able to rescue one. We don’t know where they are?
“When I heard soldiers chased them and they ran inside Sambisa forest, why couldn’t you follow them? So I don’t know who is deceiving who in this country. Jonathan at the time said there were Boko Haram people in his government.”
Speaking further, Gen Haruna who decried the sad incident, said that the issue “must be kept on the front burner.”
Haruna who commended the parents for doing their best and urged them to continue to hope, pray and work towards the children’s return, said, “We shall continue to ensure that the issue does not disappear from the consciousness of the people.”
Speaking earlier, Dr. Alan Manasseh, Director of Media and Communications Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association (KADA), who led the delegation said 24 parents of the abducted Chibok girls have died because of the trauma.
He explained that they decided to visit Chief Clark because he has kept the issue of the Chibok Girls on the front burner.
Manasseh who was accompanied by the Women Leader (Mothers) Mrs. Yana Galang, said the “Silence has become too long,” adding that they decided “to visit opinion leaders and cry more for rescue of the girls.”
Manasseh who noted that the parents were yet to get closure over the matter, added that the government has repeatedly told them to be hopeful but has not done anything that could raise their hopes.