Our Priority is to Rescue the Girls, By Reuben Abati
The rest of the world may have moved on, as USA TODAY writes in its editorial, but I assure you that safely rescuing the abducted girls and returning them alive to their parents remains President Jonathan’s topmost priority.
The president met recently with parents of the girls and leaders of their community to give them a personal assurance that his government will continue to explore every possible option and deploy all available resources in the ongoing effort to bring the girls home.
The editorial that triggered Mr. Abati’s response: Kidnapped girls deserve continued attention
As President Jonathan explained to the parents, the great challenge, which may have paradoxically created the erroneous notion of tardiness in the rescue effort, is to ensure that none of the girls lose their lives in any rescue operation.
President Jonathan’s commitment is not just to get the girls out, it is also to rout Boko Haram completely from Nigeria. But he is very mindful of the safety of the girls and will not be stampeded into ordering any rescue attempt that may further endanger the girls.
We ask those who continue to suggest that the Jonathan administration is not doing all it can to rescue the girls to understand that we are dealing with terrorist thugs who celebrate death and have no qualms about slaughtering helpless men, women and children.
Other than the parents and relatives of the girls, no one else is more determined to do something about their plight than the president, who continues to be the target of unfair criticism over his government’s handling of the affair.
We quite understand that part of the problem is that the media and the public would like to know more of what is being done. But we ask our people and the global community to show greater appreciation of the fact that saying too much could have very adverse consequences for the entire effort.
Reasonable people should understand the challenging nature of this effort, but we know that there are persons in Nigeria who wish to exploit the plight of the girls for political reasons. That is unfortunate.
Above all, President Jonathan is committed in the long term to a comprehensive program of expanding educational opportunities for all girls and, indeed, all young people in Nigeria.
Reuben Abati, a special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, wrote this article in response to the USA TODAY editorial which is linked to this article.