How Jonathan snubbed UK Rescue Offer,
by Grace Obike wi
-Former British Prime Minister lied, says ex-President
– ‘My problem with him was over same-sex marriage’
-BBOG marks 2,000 days of girls’ captivity, demands their release
-Boko Haram launches fresh attack on Chibok community
Former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has sensationally revealed how ex-Nigerian leader, Goodluck Jonathan, allegedly turned down United Kingdom’s offer to rescue the 276 Chibok schoolgirls from Boko Haram’s grip in 2014.
Cameron, in his memoir, for the Record, claims that British troops traced the location of some of the victims and offered to help but Jonathan refused.
The former president, he said “seemed to be asleep at the wheel.”
Jonathan denied the allegation yesterday.
He said there was no way he could have rejected an offer made by those he personally invited to assist with the search and rescue operation.
Although 107 of the girls are back home, some through their own personal efforts and the rest through the effort of the Buhari Administration, 112 remain in captivity for the 2000th day running.
The Chibok community in Abuja, on Saturday asked government to declare what it is doing to secure the release of their daughters, while the group, Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), described the continued incarceration of the girls as a nightmare, a shame and “an open sore of the world that threatens to become ingrained within the darkest parts of our collective history.”
Cameron said: “Boko Haram in Nigeria was linked to al-Qaeda, and believed Western education and lifestyles were a sin (the meaning behind its name). It too wanted to institute a caliphate, and like ISIS it would use whatever barbaric means it thought necessary.
“In early 2014 a group of its fighters entered the government secondary school in the village of Chibok, seizing 276 teenage girls.
“They were taken to camps deep in the forest. The Christians among them were forced to convert to Islam. Many were sold as slaves, entering the same endless violent nightmare the Yazidi women suffered.
“As ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign spread across the world, we embedded a team of military and intelligence experts in Nigeria, and sent spy planes and Tornadoes with thermal imaging to search for the missing girls. And, amazingly, from the skies above a forest three times the size of Wales, we managed to locate some of them.
“But Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, seemed to be asleep at the wheel.
“When he eventually made a statement, it was to accuse the campaigners of politicizing the tragedy. And absolutely crucially, when we offered to help rescue the girls we had located, he refused.”
Jonathan: Cameron lies; he’s against me because of my stand against gay marriage
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was swift in dismissing Cameron’s allegation on Saturday.
The former president, in a statement personally signed by him, said: “It is quite sad that Mr. Cameron would say this because nothing of such ever occurred.
“As President of Nigeria, I not only wrote letters to then Prime Minister David Cameron, I also wrote to the then US President, Barrack Obama, and the then French President, François Hollande, as well as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appealing to them for help in rescuing the Chibok Girls.
“How could I write to appeal for help and then reject the very thing I appealed for?
“Also, history contradicts Mr. Cameron. On March 8, 2012, when the same Boko Haram linked terrorists abducted a British expatriate named Chris McManus, along with an Italian hostage Franco Lamolinara, in Sokoto, I, as Nigerian President, personally authorized a rescue effort by members of the British military Special Boat Service supported by officers and men of the Nigerian Army, to free the abducted men.
“So, having set a precedent like that, why would I reject British help in rescuing the Chibok Girls, if it was offered?
“I also authorized the secret deployment of troops from the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel as a result of the Chibok incident, so how Mr. Cameron could say this with a straight face beats me.
“Moreover, on March 8, 2017, the British Government of former Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a widely circulated press statement, debunked this allegation and said there was no truth in it after Mr. Cameron had made similar statements to the Observer of the UK.
“In his book, Mr. Cameron failed to mention that I wrote him requesting his help on Chibok. Why did he suppress that information?
“I remind him that copies of that letter exist at the State Houses in Nigeria and London. He never called me on the phone to offer any help.
“On the contrary, I am the one that reached out to him. He accused me of appointing Generals based on political considerations.
“How could that be when I fired my service chiefs twice in five years, to show that I would not tolerate anything less than meaningful progress in the war on terror.
“I was completely blind to ethnic or political considerations in my appointments. In civil and military matters, I appointed people that I had never even met prior to appointing them, based on their professional pedigree.
“Though I was from the South, most of my service chiefs came from the North. I do, however, know that Mr. Cameron has long nursed deep grudges against me for reasons that have been published in various media.
“On July 24, 2013, while celebrating the passage of the United Kingdom’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, 2013, Mr. Cameron said: “I want to export gay marriage around the world.”
“At that occasion, he boasted that he would send the team that successfully drafted and promoted the Bill, to nations, like Nigeria, saying inter alia: ‘I’ve told the Bill team I’m now going to reassign them because, of course, all over the world people would have been watching this piece of legislation.’
“As President of Nigeria at that time, I came under almost unbearable pressure from the Cameron administration to pass legislation supporting LGBTQ Same Sex marriage in Nigeria.
“My conscience could not stomach that, because as President of Nigeria, I swore on the Bible to advance Nigeria’s interests, and not the interest of the United Kingdom or any foreign power.
“As such, on Monday, January 13, 2014, I signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law after the Bill had been passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Nigeria’s parliament, in line with the wishes of the Nigerian people.
“This happened shortly after a study of 39 nations around the world by the U.S. Pew Research Center came up with a finding which indicated that 98 percent of Nigerians were opposed to the idea of Gay Marriage.
“Immediately after I took this patriotic action, my government came under almost unbearable pressure from Mr. Cameron, who reached me through envoys, and made subtle and not so subtle threats against me and my government.
“In fact, meetings were held at the Obama White House and at the Portcullis House in Parliament UK, with the then Nigerian opposition to disparage me, after I had signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law.
“On the issue of corruption, it suffices to say that Mr. Cameron is not as competent as Transparency International, which is globally acknowledged as the adjudicator of who is corrupt and who is not.
“During my administration, in 2014, Nigeria made her best ever improvement on the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, moving from 144 the previous year, to 136, an 8 point improvement.
“As a nation, we have not made such improvements on the CPI before or after 2014. In line with these facts, I would urge the public to take Mr. Cameron’s accusations with a grain of salt.
“I will not be the first person to accuse him of lying on account of this book, and with the reactions in the UK so far, I definitely will not be the last.”
Chibok community to FG: What are you doing to secure release of the remaining captives?
A leader of the Chibok community in Abuja, Dr. Manasseh Allen, said yesterday that parents of the 107 girls remaining in the captivity of Boko Haram still do not know what government was doing to secure the release of their daughters.
He recalled how government assured the parents that the remaining girls would be brought back immediately after securing the release of 82 of the girls.
Allen spoke in Abuja when members of the #BringBackOurGirls advocacy held a sit out marking day 2000 of the abduction .
“2000 days later we are still here demanding for the rescue of the remaining Chibok girls and others that have been abducted in other attacks,” Allen said.
He added: “we have waited for action and an end to the insurgency but all we see is increase in violence and activities of the insurgents.
“The girls are still not back to school. The Chibok school has not been rebuilt five years after it was initially burnt down.
“Till today the Chibok parents do not still know what the government is doing exactly to get their girls back.
“Nobody is talking to them. The Chibok girls desk in the Ministry of Women Affairs is dormant.
“No one knows exactly they are doing. As of today, about 25 of the Chibok girls parents have died, nobody cares to know how the rest of the family is doing and what the message coming to government from them is.
“It is very unfortunate that this is where we are 2000 days after. After the last batch was released, the government had made a promise to the remaining parents that they were going to get the girls back immediately, not too long from when the last 82 where rescued. So what exactly is happening?”
#BBOG to FG: More action needed to free the girls
The #BBOG, in a statement at the Abuja event yesterday, said: “Today, Saturday October 5th 2019 marks 2,000 days since 276 schoolgirls were abducted from Government Girls’ Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria by terrorists on the night of April 14 2014. 57 girls escaped within days of the abduction while 219 remained in captivity.
“Five years on, an additional 107 girls have returned: four of them as a result of Nigerian military interventions, 21 released in October 2016 after negotiations with their captors and a further 82 set free by the terrorist group in May 2017.
“2,000 days later, 112 of the #ChibokGirls abducted during an evil attack on humanity are yet to return. Over the past 2,000 days, our #ChibokGirls have been denied their fundamental rights to freedom.
“For simply seeking an education on the path of growth and fulfilment, they have been forced to suffer unimaginable horrors by enemies of humanity.
“Their families and communities have also borne severe hardships within a war that continues to destroy lives and impede human progress. This nightmare continues to be the shame of a Nation and an open sore of the world that threatens to become ingrained within the darkest parts of our collective history.
“We note with heartbreaking dismay, the incapacity, apathy and failed leadership displayed by the President and the Federal Government in the wake of the abduction of six students and two staff members of Engravers College in Kaduna on the 3rd of October 2019. This continues a distressing pattern of a failure to secure, preserve and dignify the lives of citizens.
“To this end, the students and staff of Engravers College join a number of citizens who remain missing – including Leah Sharibu, Alice Ngaddah, Grace Taku and her colleagues as well as many others. How can we have continued this way?”
Former Education Minister and the face of #BBOG, Oby Ezekwesili,in a Twitter post said: “It is DAY2000 since our #ChibokGirls were abducted from their Government Secondary School hostel in Chibok, Borno State. 107 are back. 106 are doing well in school 1 learning a skill BUT 112 are still held captive. f @NGRPresidenti f @MBuhari #BringBackOurGirlsNOW!
In Lagos, BBOG activists converged on the Falomo Roundabout, Ikoyi, in a sit out in honour of the girls and others, including Leah Sharibu, who is being held for her faith.
They pledged not to give up until all the abductees are returned home safely to their families.
One-time Lagos State Commissioner for Finance Mr. Wale Edun empathised with the girls’ families for the hurt they have borne for 2000 days.
He described the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu as “Nigeria’s daughters” and that the nation’s attention and action concerning them should not be less.
He said: “2000 days is so many years. We are here because this is our duty as citizens. This is a difficult time to demand things from government, but we are not going away until all our #ChibokGirls are back.”
Edun commended “us all for not being tired or discouraged.”
Other members of the group at the event, including a former president of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Ayo Obe, pledged the movement’s commitment to the cause.
In a live tweet during the sit out, Obe said: “People, fellow citizens, are here to mark #2000Days since our #ChibokGirls were taken. #BringBackOurGirls continues to stand in the gap.”
Boko Haram launches fresh attack on Chibok community
The terror sect seems not satisfied with the 2014 attack on Chibok.
On Friday night, its fighters descended on Mifa, a village in Chibok Local Governme
nt Area, burning houses indiscriminately.
The insurgents were said to have struck in large numbers at about 8pm burning houses.
Residents fled into the bush.
Mifa is only eight kilometres from Chibok town.