Presidency blasts Northern elders over ultimatum to President Jonathan on Chibok Girls

The Presidency yesterday tongue-lashed the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for asking President Goodluck Jonathan to forget about contesting in 2015 if by October, he fails to produce the Chibok secondary school students kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect in April.

The presidency said Jonathan does not require any threat or ultimatum from the north or any group of persons for him to perform his job.

The Northern Elders Forum had in a statement signed by Mr Solomon Dalung and Dr. Hakeem Baba‑Ahmed on Monday said that the North does not believe that the Nigerian military cannot defeat the terrorists, and that it feels the conflicts in the country were deliberately being prolonged simply to weaken the North politically and economically.

Reacting yesterday in a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said irrespective of threats, the president will remain focused and alive to his responsibilities in delivering the dividends of democracy to the People of Nigeria.

He argued that the “suggestion that the Government is carrying out any scheme to annihilate any section of the country for political gain is preposterous, contrary to common sense, divisive and essentially a deliberate attempt to disseminate “hate mentality” and cause mischief”.
According to the statement, “We wish to state categorically that President Jonathan does not require any threat or ultimatum from any group of persons to be alive to his responsibilities to the Nigerian People.

“The issue of Insurgency especially those ideologically based on Islamic extremism is a global phenomenon and requires tact, military capability, serious de‑radicalisation techniques and community based counter insurgency programmes to ensure success.

“In these areas, the Federal Government is making progress. We are improving on our operational capabilities and efficiencies by acquiring more advanced weapons and technologies for our military and security agencies. We have drafted more military personnel to the region to strengthen the fighting power of our armed forces. We are taking advantage of the offers from our international military and intelligence allies to assist in identifying key locations.

“We are working with our neighbours to secure the borders and limit the movements of the Boko Haram fighters, building on the agreements reached at the recent summits in Paris and London.

“We are deploying more resources to maximize operational efficiency, acquire more advanced and relevant weaponry and boost the general morale of our combatants. This is why the Government recently requested for an additional funding of $1bn.

“And the last piece in the puzzle is targeting the domestic and international funding, and stopping the money flows into the coffers of the terrorists.

“With all these efforts and the support of our allies, these steps will help fight the threat of the Boko haram and move us closer to bringing the girls back safely.

“President Goodluck Jonathan was voted for by an overwhelming majority of Nigerians across the board, and he will never promote any policy that is either divisive or inimical to the wellbeing of any section of the polity.

“What the country needs today is total co‑operation, of all its citizens and stakeholders, with the Government and our military and the security agencies.

“We wish to assure Nigerians that in spite of this and many more distractions, the President is focused on continued successful executions of his transformation Agenda; and the guarantee of the security of lives and properties of the Nigerian people.”


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