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BringBackOurGirls Group blames Jonathan for delay in rescuing missing Chibok girls

The BBOG spokesman, Tunji Olanrewaju, said the girls would have been freed if the Jonathan government acted faster.

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The BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) coalition has blamed former president Goodluck Jonathan for the prolonged captivity of the over 200 school girls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect two years ago.

The group said the immediate past administration did not take the rescuing of the girls seriously for one month after they were abducted because Jonathan did not believe they were indeed kidnapped.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH on Wednesday, April 13, the BBOG spokesman, Tunji Olanrewaju, said the girls would have been freed if the Jonathan government acted faster.

“We believe strongly that the delay is a strong factor, no doubt about that and it was the reason  why we came our very vocally against the government that they needed to do something, act faster and be more creative in how they go about it," he said.

“Experts are of the opinion that in the case of abduction, if a rescue mission is not launched within the first 48 hours, the chances of successful rescue diminishes. Because of the doubt that permeated the government at that time, the right thing was not done and that is the reason we are where we are today.

“The first official response did not happen until after 18 days and then, the fact-finding committee was set up on the 19th day of the abduction, the implication was that the government was in doubt about the abduction and it was after the fact-finding committee submitted its report that we had an official response from the government that 219 school girls were abducted. That was how we came about the 219 girls; it was the Sabo committee that established that fact.”

Olanrewaju said despite the fact that the international community established the location of the girls through the satellite, no concerted effort was made to rescue them.

He discredited the speculations that some of the girls may have been used as child bombers by the terrorists, saying that most of the suicide bombers were below the age of the schoolgirls - the youngest of missing girls is believed to be about 17 years old.

READ: New video shows kidnapped Chibok girls are alive and well

“Most of the girls quoted in the report are below 12, they are below the age of Chibok girls who are about 17 years and above. We know that most of the child bombers may not be Chibok girls but they are Nigerians and this made us sad,” he noted.

In comparing the efforts of the the Jonathan and Buhari administrations to find the girls, the spokesman said the incumbent government is more proactive in the rescue missing.

He said, “The sad fact is that the girls are not back, but we acknowledge that the response of the Buhari government as against that of Jonathan government has been more proactive and more hands-on.

“It was difficult for Jonathan government to even accept that the girls were missing, it took about 19 days for the government to react officially, it took almost one month after before the Sabo committee was asked to do a verification before the report was ready, it took a lot of time.

“Buhari’s government coming in knew there was a problem it had to solve and I know that it probably under-estimated the enormity of the challenge, which is obvious.”

Pulse recalls that the group, earlier today, Thursday, April 14, marched to the Presidential Villa in Abuja in commemoration of the 2nd anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok girls.

The protesters led by former minister Oby Ezekwesili, were however prevented from getting into the Villa by the police.

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