By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was recently in the news again as former British Prime Minister David Cameron accused him of frustrating the attempt of British special forces to rescue the abducted Chibok girls. It will be recalled that 276 Chibok girls were abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State on 15th April, 2014. The abduction remains a mystery till date. Jonathan has rejected the allegation claiming he made several efforts to secure help from Britain and other countries.
However, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has rejected Jonathan’s defence. The Islamic human rights group based its rejection on the ex-president’s initial hesitation to take action after the abduction occurred. In a press statement circulated to the media on Friday, 11th October, 2019, by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, the organization demanded an apology from Jonathan.
“We reject Jonathan’s alibi. We take it with a pinch of salt. It is a cock and bull story. We are not actually basing our rejection on David Cameron’s revelation, rather we are looking at Jonathan’s reaction ab initio. The letters he claimed to have written to foreign powers to seek help were mere afterthoughts. He should tell the marines.
“Jonathan should explain to us why he put the totality of the Nigerian defence architecture to sleep for 21 days after the abduction. He politicized the issue instead of springing to action. He refused to give orders to the military to go after the kidnappers. Instead, he called the kidnap story a ruse designed to discredit his administration. He said it never occurred.
“So Jonathan should leave the Cameron angle aside. Cameron was far away in NO. 10 Downing Street when the hoodlums kidnapped our girls. Jonathan was right here in Aso Rock, wining and dining and refusing to act while Madam Patience Jonathan was trying to puncture the veracity of the incident with her ‘diaris God oooo’.
“Had Jonathan sprang to action immediately after the abduction like a real Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the calamity would have been reversed but he delayed action until it was too late. His lackadaisical approach in those crucial moments allowed the insurgents to dig in. He gave Boko Haram an excruciatingly painful 21-day respite which enabled them to take the innocent girls deep into the forest. It was a serious dereliction of duty and an indubitably impeachable offence in a proactive parliamentary democracy. Unfortunately our lawmakers were on sabbatical”
MURIC asked the ex-president to apologise to Nigerians.
“The best Jonathan can do now is to apologise to Nigerians for the Chibok debacle. Jonathan should just swallow his pride and eat the humble pie. There are no two ways to it. An unreserved apology is what Nigerians are expecting and we will keep pounding the ex-president until he does the needful.
“We are concerned because that abduction emboldened the insurgents, exposed our underbelly and endangered Nigerian citizens to more criminalities. It was a huge blow to our security apparatus. Whatever threatens the safety and security of lives and properties of Nigerians must attract the interest of every serious civil society group. The Chibok incident opened the floodgate to the frequent kidnappings in the country today.”
The group also appealed to President Buhari to double government’s efforts to rescue the girls from captivity.
“We strongly appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to double government’s efforts aimed at securing the freedom of the Chibok girls. It is now five and a half years since these girls were taken away. We are in grief. Our nights are nightmarish. Horrible fears envelope our days. Please bring back our girls.”
MURIC urged Nigerians to intensify their prayers for both the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu.
“We urge Nigerians to intensify their prayers for the safe return of the Chibok girls. We must also remember Leah Sharibu, the lone Christian girl who was denied freedom by the insurgents.”