The Nigerian presidency has responded to criticism from the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG campaign which accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “breaking every promise he made concerning the rescue of over 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their Chibok school dormitory in April 2014.
The activists, led by former World Bank vice president, Oby Ezekwesili accused the Buhari government of being lackadaisical about the rescue of the Chibok girls from Boko Haram.
A statement signed by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, released on Monday, July 11, 2016 pleaded for patience and understanding from the group which was founded during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
“The presidency will like to appeal to the officials and members of the Bring Back Our Girls, 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 terrorist group,” the statement said.
“The past year of this administration has 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.
“Also, records from the army show the rescue of no fewer than 15,000 captives, mostly women and children from the terrorists from February to date. In addition, dozens of communities that were previously under the control of the terrorists have 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 have also been reunited with their families.
“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,” the statement said in part.
The statement argued that the rescue of 15,000 captives from Boko Haram was as important as that of Chibok girls and said that the government deserved a pat on the back for its effort and not condemnation.
Shehu lampooned the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG movement saying that though the group’s “intentions are honourable”, it is doing “collateral damage” with its accusations against the president.
“While their intentions are honourable, perhaps the BBOG leadership have not considered the collateral damage which must inevitably follow its riveting and dispiriting claim that the President has “broken all promises” allegedly made to the group on this issue,”the statement said.
“Or that he has been “lackadaisical” in rescuing the Chibok girls. The Federal Government’s focus has always been to free the Chibok girls alive and unharmed.”
“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 its powers to ensure that every Nigerian is safe from the brutality of terrorists and terrorism,” the presidency promised.