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Jonathan never said Chibok girls would be rescued within six weeks, says Okupe

February 16
22:05 2015

The presidency has denied that President Goodluck Jonathan made any commitment on when the Chibok schoolgirls would be released from the captivity of the Boko Haram sect.

During his last presidential media chat, Jonathan had promised that the girls will be reunited with their families in a matter of weeks.

“I believe that the story of the Chibok girls will be better now that we are working with Niger, Cameroon and Chad,” he said while responding to one of the questions raised during the programme.

“I am more hopeful than before that the girls will be rescued. Nigerians should just give us a few weeks. We are working with our neighbours and we will comb the whole of that area. Just give us some time.”


But Doyin Okupe, special assistant to the president on public affairs, said it would be wrong to assume that the girls would be rescued in less than six weeks, as the view of the president in that regard was only being misrepresented.

He was reacting to a comment by Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education and leader of the #BringBackOurGirls Group (BBOG), that the president had made an affirmative statement that the girls would be returned in about six weeks.

“Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to former minister of education and a leader of the Bring BackOurGirlsGroup, Oby Ezekwesili, to the effect that President Goodluck Jonathan has made an affirmative statement that the girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state, would be freed within six weeks, hence the beginning of a count down by the organisation,” Okupe said.


“We wish to state that the statement made by the president during his last media chat was that the combined efforts of new offensive by the Nigerian military and its allies as well as improved capacity in the operations have made the chances for the rescue of the Chibok girls brighter than ever before.

“This statement cannot be construed as putting a six week time frame for the delicate task of freeing the girls alive which the President remains very committed to and would definitely wish would even happen in a day.”

Describing the reaction of the group as mischievous, Okupe accused BBOG of attempting to score cheap political points rather than encouraging the military and helping the cause of the girls and their parents.

He maintained, though, that the president was still committed to the safe return of the girls, who were abducted 309 days ago.


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