The Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed why he refused to visit Chibok after the abduction of about 276 girls from Government Girls Secondary School Chibok in Borno State.
Jonathan in his book, ‘My Transition Hours’ said he had planned to pay an unannounced visit to the community but he had to cancel after information about the proposed visit was leaked to the foreign media.
He also dismissed the claim that several local government areas were under the control of the insurgents when he handed over power to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He argued that elections would not have held in those communities if they were not liberated from the control of the insurgents.
According to him: “Again, I was accused of not visiting Chibok immediately after the abduction of the girls. A lot of assumptions were made. What was not countenanced was the fact that a President moved with security advice from experts because he ceases to be a private citizen the moment he wears the powers of state.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state that I had made up my mind to visit Chibok even against the advice of my Service Chiefs and sent an advance party to the area in preparation for my visit. It was meant to be an unannounced visit.
“However someone in the know, most likely a saboteur, leaked the information to the Western media and they reported it.
“Of course when it became public knowledge that I planned to visit Chibok, the security chiefs requested the trip to be cancelled. Their advice was germane and regrettably, my visit had to be cancelled.
“Sometime, in the heat of the moment, one got the impression that I was being goaded to appear there in the great expectation of something untoward happening to me. I was to access Chibok in a helicopter that would have flown over Boko Haram infested areas.
“This wave of misinformation on the kidnap of the Chibok girls is similar to the malicious propaganda still being spread by those who saw nothing commendable in all we did to curb the Echo Haram situation in the North East.”
On whether he was slow in his response to the abduction, the former Presidnet said: “The criticism over alleged slow response was one of those absurd injections into the discourse, but when it comes from eminent persons who were supposed to be circumspect; it began to look more plausible to observers.
“My administration was not slow in responding to the Chibok incident. How could response have been slow in a military occupied zone? Before the Presidency was alerted by the intelligence services, the military were already on it.
“As soon as I got the intelligence report, I summoned the service chiefs for briefing. I was informed that the Air Force was already using several surveillance aircraft to search the area.”
On the number of communities liberated from the insurgents before he handed over, he said: “They claimed that I left several local government areas under the control of the insurgents.
“Fortunately, the Nigeria military had successfully liberated most of the local governments in the North East from the insurgents; a situation that made it possible for INEC to organise elections in all the affected areas.
“The towns and communities liberated before the 2015 elections include Bama, Dikwa, Buni Yadi, Baga, Konduga, Madagali, Mubi, Gamboru-Ngala, Michika, Damboa, Monguno, Gwoza, Marte, Gujba, Bara, Hong, Kukawa, Goniri, Askira and Abadam.”
On efforts made to rescue the girls, Jonathan said he did everything humanly possible to rescue the girls.
“We did everything humanly possible to locate the girls. I wrote letters to the Presidents of the United States, Barack Obama, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, President of France, Francois Hollande as well as leaders of China, Israel and our neighbouring countries for help.
“They supported the search in their different ways and capacities but until I left office, it was all to no avail.
“On several occasions when raids were conducted and news of rescue of hostages filtered in, my hopes were raised but almost immediately dashed when victims were processed and none of the Chibok girls were among those rescued.”
“As an aside, while thanking the men and women of the US security services who were deployed to Nigeria and toiled day and night in the Northeast in search of the Chibok Girls, my surprise at the role played by the then US. President Barack Obama, still calls to doubt his genuine intentions for Nigeria.”
Jonathan also blamed Obama for the low success recorded in the fight against Boko Haram.
“For some strange reasons, the Obama administration had tactically penciled Nigeria and my administration for failure. Amongst many manoeuvres, was the refusal to provide any real military backing to Nigeria’s Armed Forces.
“President Obama and his security adviser, Susan Rice, bluntly refused to sell any military hardware including jet fighters and attack helicopters to Nigeria.
“Obama cited the Leahy Law as the reason his regime prevented the American Government from supporting Nigeria in providing weapons to fight Boko Haram.
“Even when the State of Israel expressed the willingness to sell attack helicopters to Nigeria, the gesture was frustrated by the Obama administration that kept waving the same Leahy Law like a banner.
“My administration, including a team of international partners with their respective governments, devoted considerable amount of resources in the search and rescue of the girls.
“I believe one day some of the security experts and actors that were involved in the search and rescue will tell the world the truth about the kidnap of the Chibok school girls.
“I am glad that at the time of writing this book, some of them have been found and I hope the rest of the girls will be found and re-united with their families.”