President Goodluck Jonathan said Monday in Abuja that the federal government is doing everything possible to ensure that the over 200 girls abducted from Chibok on April 14, are rescued alive and safely returned to their parents.
He said that the federal government is, however, constrained by the overriding imperative of ensuring that the girls’ lives are not endangered in any rescue attempt.
Speaking at an audience with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl-child education campaigner, President Jonathan explained that his government is very mindful of the need to avoid the scenario in rescue attempts in other parts of the world where lives of abductees were lost in the effort to rescue them.
“Terror is relatively new here and dealing with it has its challenges. The great challenge in rescuing the Chibok girls is the need to ensure that they are rescued alive,” the President stated.
He told Yousafzai that he fully empathised with the pain and anguish of the affected parents and promised to meet with some of the parents to personally comfort them and reassure them of the federal government’s efforts.
The President also said that the federal government was proactively evolving and implementing policies and measures that will benefit the abducted Chibok girls when they are safely rescued, as well as others that have been adversely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Part of the efforts include the establishment of a Victims’ Support Fund, the Safe Schools Initiative and the Presidential Initiative for the Northeast.
He announced that he would inaugurate a National Committee to oversee fundraising for the Victims’ Support Fund, which will also cater for families of security men and women who have lost their lives in the war against terrorism, on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.
President Jonathan thanked Yousafzai for coming to Nigeria to support ongoing efforts to rescue the abducted Chibok girls and promote girl-child education.
While addressing journalists, Yousafzai said she was in Nigeria to use the occasion of her 17th birthday to speak up for her “Nigerian sisters” who are under the abduction of Boko Haram and other out of school children, especially of the female gender.
“I highlighted the same issues which the girls and their parents told me in the past two days. The parents said they really want to meet with the president to share their stories with him. And I asked the president if he wants to meet with the parents of the girls, the president assured me that he would meet with them,” she said.
She noted that the parents of the girls were still hopeful that their daughters would return to them, adding that her Malala fund had raised $200,000 as contribution to the education of the girls when they are rescued and those of them who already escaped.