7 August 2014

Nigeria: Jonathan - Dialogue Still Possible to Rescue Chibok Girls

Photo: Screenshot/Premium Times
Missing Nigerian Girls

President Goodluck Jonathan has said employing strict military approach to rescue the abducted schoolgirls of Chibok, Borno State would put the girls' life at risk.

Jonathan spoke yesterday in an interview with the Washington Times in Washington, USA where he is attending an African-World Leaders Summit convened by American President Barrack Obama.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the President, Doyin Okupe, quoted him as saying in the interview that "If it is to risk a few dead bodies, it is easier. You can blast the place and carry the corpses. But is that what we have to do? So, it is delicate".

Jonathan insisted that the Federal Government had information on the location of the abducted girls, but was being mindful of the consequences of invading the location to avoid a repeat of an episode in February 2013 in which an offshoot of Boko Haram killed seven foreign hostages in northern Nigeria before authorities could rescue them.

"They (Boko Haram insurgents) are ready to die. So, when you're dealing with that scenario, it is very different from the ordinary kidnapping by criminals or people who don't want to die. So, it is very, very delicate," the president said.

He stressed that the dialogue option had not been ruled out, saying the government was encouraging intermediaries who had offered to persuade the captors to release the captives.

"We've set up a committee, what I call a dialogue committee on the security challenge we've in the north, even before the kidnapping of the Chibok girls. We've a team. And we encourage people to assist them. We do negotiate. Quite a number of people have come with different information. We encourage them. But none of them has yielded any results yet," he said.

Jonathan said his administration was committed to winning the terror war and rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed by insurgents.

The president also urged northern leaders to co-operate with his government and help the security agencies with necessary information to succeed in securing lives and property.

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