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Jonathan upbeat in first meeting with Chibok parents

22 July 2014, 21:05

Lagos - President Goodluck Jonathan has reassured the Chibok community that his administration was doing everything possible to rescue the more 200 girls abducted from a school in April.

Speaking to the parents in Abuja, having met them for the first time since the kidnapping, appealed for their patience, understanding and cooperation.

"Anyone who gives you the impression that we are aloof and that we are not doing what we are supposed to do to get the girls out is not being truthful," Jonathan told the parents and community leaders at the meeting which was also attended by Borno Governor, Kashim Shettima, Bauchi Governor, Isa Yuguda and the Senate President, David Mark.

"Our commitment is not just to get the girls out, it is also to rout Boko Haram completely from Nigeria. But we are very, very mindful of the safety of the girls. We want to return them all alive to their parents. If they are killed in any rescue effort, then we have achieved nothing," Jonathan added at the Presidential Villa.

The President said that although he was yet to visit Chibok in the aftermath of the abductions, his heart was constantly with its traumatized parents and people, and his desire was to visit them when their daughters have been freed and they can receive him with "smiling faces of joy, rather than with tears of anguish."

He has come under heavy criticism for his failure to travel to Chibok to commiserate with families.

"Our duty now is to take all relevant steps to recover our girls alive and our primary interest is getting them out as safely as possible. I will not want to say much, but we are doing everything humanly possible to get the girls out. "This not the time for talking much. This is the time for action. We will get to the time that we will tell stories. We will get to the time that we will celebrate and I assure you that, by God's grace, that time will come soon," Jonathan said.

Responding to appeals from the community leaders for more help in overcoming some of the challenges imposed on Chibok and neighbouring communities by the Boko Haram insurgency, the President said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Medical Agencies would intensify their efforts to provide them with additional relief aid and assistance.

He also assured them that Chibok and other communities in the three North-Eastern States most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency they would the first beneficiaries of the Victims' Support Fund, the Presidential Initiative for the North-East, the Safe Schools Initiative and other developmental programmes which the Federal Government is evolving to address the damage, losses, setbacks, economic and social dislocations occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency.

- CAJ News


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