The response of the Federal Government to the plight of the abducted girls of a government college in Chibok, Borno State, since April 14 does not inspire confidence, a USA TODAY report has said.
The newspaper’s position was contained in its editorial titled, “Nigerian girls deserve continued attention” published on Tuesday. The editorial was published at a time President Goodluck Jonathan was in the country for the African/American Leaders Summit.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in his response said Jonathan would not be stampeded into ordering any rescue attempt that might further endanger the life of the abducetd girls.
The American newspaper said Jonathan initially ignored the incident and later claimed that activists invented it.
“The response of the Nigerian government, which has often seemed overmatched in its five-year struggle with Boko Haram, doesn’t inspire much confidence. President Goodluck Jonathan at first largely ignored the incident, and then claimed activists invented it, and finally yielded to pressure to accept international assistance,” the editorial read in part
It said that although Jonathan had been claiming that his government was making every effort to find the girls, he had failed to offer evidence of such efforts but kept on arguing that divulging any details could compromise the mission.
The newspaper however admitted that the challenge of fighting militants “who casually sacrifice civilian lives in the name of religion” was not confined to Nigeria.
It said American forces had struggled inconclusively with extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade.
“The world’s anger can sometimes seem a weak candle next to the flame of intolerance and murder, but in the case of the captive Nigerian schoolgirls, it’s important to keep it burning,” it added.
The newspaper also regretted that over three months after the kidnap, the world had mostly moved on, leaving the girls to their fate.
It said the world had been distracted by numerous events, such as the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, the shoot down of a Malaysian jetliner and the immigration crisis at the US border.
It however advised that despite all other events calling for the world’s attention, the girls should not be forgotten.
The editorial read in part, “When a vicious militant group kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls in April, much of the world was outraged. The Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls went viral, spawning broad concern from people around the globe — and smug derision from critics of digital advocacy. [eap_ad_2] “Four months later, about 60 of the girls have managed to escape and the rest remain missing. The world has mostly moved on, distracted by such events as wars in Gaza and Ukraine, the shoot down of a Malaysian jetliner and the immigration crisis at the US border.
“But amid all the horrors that regularly compete for the world’s attention, this one shouldn’t be forgotten.
“For one thing, the teenage captives are symbols of the importance of educating girls. They were all seized after returning to school in a dangerous area to take their final exams. Among them are future lawyers, doctors and teachers — women who could someday help lead their country.
“For another, there’s evidence that the international uproar might have helped raise the cost of harming the girls too high even for Boko Haram, an extremist group that regularly kidnaps and kills in its quest to bring a brutal form of fundamentalist Islam to parts of Africa.”
But Abati in his piece titled “Our top priority is to rescue the girls,” said the rest of the world might have moved on as written by the newspaper, safe rescue of the girls remained Jonathan’s topmost priority.
He recalled that the President met recently with parents of the girls and leaders of their community to give them a personal assurance that his government would continue to explore every possible option and deploy all available resources in the ongoing effort to bring the girls home.
He said that as the President explained to the parents, the great challenge, which might have created the erroneous notion of tardiness in the rescue effort, was to ensure that none of the girls lose their lives in any rescue operation.