President Goodluck Jonathan has assured people in the Chibok community, in Borno state that he will personally visit them as soon as the over 200 female students of the Government Girls Secondary School are freed from their abductors, Members of Boko Haram.
President Jonathan told some of the girls that escaped from Boko Haram and parents of the girls abducted at a meeting with them at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tusday that he initially wanted to visit Chibok immediately after the abductions but decided to stay action, even though his heart was constantly with the traumatized parents and people of the area.
Jonathan made it clear that his desire is to visit them when their daughters have been freed and they can receive him “with smiling faces of joy, rather than with tears of anguish.”
He reassured them that his administration is doing everything humanly possible to rescue the girls even as he appealed for their patience, understanding and cooperation.
“Anyone who gives you the impression that we are aloof and that we are not doing what we are supposed to do to get the girls out is not being truthful.
“Our commitment is not just to get the girls out, it is also to rout Boko Haram completely from Nigeria. But we are very, very mindful of the safety of the girls. We want to return them all alive to their parents. If they are killed in any rescue effort, then we have achieved nothing,” President Jonathan told the parents and community leaders at the meeting which was also attended by Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State and the Senate President, Senator David Mark.
He added: “Our duty now is to take all relevant steps to recover our girls alive and our primary interest is getting them out as safely as possible. I will not want to say much, but we are doing everything humanly possible to get the girls out.
“This not the time for talking much. This is the time for action. We will get to the time that we will tell stories. We will get to the time that we will celebrate and I assure you that, by God’s grace, that time will come soon.”
Responding to appeals from the community leaders for more help in overcoming some of the challenges imposed on Chibok and neighbouring communities by the Boko Haram insurgency, the President said that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Medical Agencies will intensify their efforts to provide them with additional relief aid and assistance.
He also assured them that Chibok and other communities in the three North-Eastern States most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency will be the first beneficiaries of the Victims’ Support Fund, which is the Presidential Initiative for the North-East, the Safe Schools Initiative and other developmental programmes.
He said that the Federal Government initiated the programme to address the damage, losses, setbacks, economic and social dislocations occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency.
“We solicit your maximum cooperation. Let us work together. Evil can never overcome good. We will surely overcome Boko Haram.”
In his remarks at the meeting, Governor Shettima called for more sobriety, reflection and unity of purpose in the fight against terrorism in the country.
He pledged that his state will give President Jonathan the fullest possible support for his efforts to address the problems caused by terrorism and the Boko Haram insurgency.
Dr. Pogu Bitrus presented the Chibok community’s address to the President.
Other speakers at the meeting included a district head, Mr. Zannamadu Usman, a member of the Borno State House of Assembly, Hon. Aminu Foni Chibok, parents of the abducted girls and three of the girls who escaped from their captors, Godia Simon, Dorcas Musa and Joy Bishara.
National Security Chiefs, Ministers and other senior government officials were also present at the meeting. [myad]