Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of trying to distract the current administration from securing the release of the Chibok schoolgirls.
In a statement issued on Monday by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide, Mohammed urged Jonathan to stop engaging in “finger-pointing” over the abduction.
He was reacting to Jonathan’s statement in which he said, “Some people who have obviously been playing politics with the issue of the Chibok girls will stop at nothing to further their interest”.
The former president said this while reacting to reports that he rejected an offer by the British government to rescue the girls.
But Mohammed said Jonathan’s statement was “an unnecessary distraction from ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls who remain in captivity, long after they were abducted”.
“While former President Jonathan reserves the right to defend his administration, he should not engage in finger-pointing by saying, in a statement, that ‘some people who have obviously been playing politics with the issue of the Chibok girls will stop at nothing to further their interest’, Mohammed said.
He said “if anyone ever played politics with the issue of Chibok girls, it was the administration under whose watch the girls were abducted”.
“After the girls were kidnapped and the Jonathan administration did nothing for all of 15 days or make any determined efforts to rescue them thereafter, our party, the then opposition APC, told the nation several times that the whole Boko Haram crisis was allowed to escalate by the PDP-controlled federal government so they can use it as a political tool ahead of the 2015 elections,” Mohammed said.
“In a statement on 8 September 2014, we said: ‘President Jonathan-PDP’s political manipulation of the Boko Haram has to be understood as part of its poker-like calculus for clinging on to political power ahead of
the 2015 elections. The Boko Haram crisis is readily used by the PDP to rationalise the Jonathan government’s abdication of its constitutional responsibilities, including visits and assistance to areas affected as well as effective response to abductions (eg the GEJ government was silent over the Chibok girls kidnaps for over 15 days).’
“Two-and-a-half years after that statement, we have been vindicated by the report that claimed President Jonathan rebuffed an attempt by the British government to help rescue the girls. We hope the former President will now refrain from stoking further controversy over the lingering abduction issue and allow the government of the day to focus on its ongoing negotiations to secure the release of the Chibok
The girls – about 273 – were abducted from a dormitory at Chibok in Borno state on April 14, 2014. Dozens of them have returned, but 192 are still in captivity.