The Presidency on Monday reacted to claims made by the BringBackOurGirls group, saying President Muhammadu Buhari would never make bogus claims or play to the gallery over the fate of the over 200 girls kidnapped in their school in Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014.
The BBOG, which has been in the forefront of the campaign for the rescue of the abducted girls, had recently alleged that Buhari had broken all promises made to the group about rescuing the missing Chibok girls and that the government had been “lackadaisical” in the rescue mission.
But the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement made available to journalists said although it had honourable intentions, the BBOG leadership did not consider the collateral damage which must inevitably follow what he called its “riveting and dispiriting claim” that the President had broken all promises allegedly made to the group on the issue.
Shehu said regardless of the allegation of being “lackadaisical” in rescuing the Chibok girls levelled against the President by the group, the Federal Government’s focus had always been to free the Chibok girls alive and unharmed.
He, however, said it would be misleading for anybody to claim that the abducted girls were within easy grasp.
He said, “The President is conscious always about the fact that terrorism in Nigeria is part of a global phenomenon. Since coming to office, his response to it has been firm and well considered.
“President Buhari will never make bogus promises or play to the gallery. It is misleading of anyone to preach that the Chibok girls are within an easy grasp.
“If the military under the President knew where they are held, they will bring the Chibok girls home today.
“The Presidency is open to renew cooperation with the BBOG group, international bodies, religious groups, social workers, and all others who are assisting in the field to ensure that those who have so far been rescued from Boko Haram captivity are given the support they need to make a full recovery and be reintegrated fully into the society.
“Groups such as the BBOG can also lend a helping hand to military families whose losses need to be appreciated and focused upon.
“The life of every single Nigerian matters to this government and the security agencies, under the command of President Buhari, will continue to exert all their powers to ensure that every Nigerian is safe from the brutality of terrorists and terrorism.”
Shehu appealed to the officials and members of the 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 terrorists.
He recalled that the first year of this administration had 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.
The presidential spokesman added that records from the Army showed the rescue of no fewer than 15,000 captives, mostly women and children from the terrorists from February to date.
In addition, he said dozens of communities that were previously under the control of the terrorists had 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, according to him, have also been reunited with their families.
He added, “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.”