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Lawyers, activists score FG’s rescue efforts low

Lawyers and rights activists have scored the Federal Government low in its efforts to rescue the abducted pupils of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.


The girls have been seized from their hostel since the night of April 14 by members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Those who spoke to The PUNCH in separate interviews on Wednesday said the Federal Government had not done enough to rescue the abducted schoolgirls, numbering above 200.

They included Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Messrs Femi Falana and Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Others are Lagos lawyers, Messrs Jiti Ogunye, Fred Agbaje and Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa, who berated the President Goodluck Jonathan administration for its failure to rescue the girls and live up to the responsibility of ensuring the security and welfare of all Nigerians as enshrined in Section 14(2) of the constitution.

Also, the Executive Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the inability of government to state precisely the location of the girls 150 days after they were abducted showed that efforts being made to rescue the captives had amounted to nothing.

‘Govt not serious’

Akeredolu, who is a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, said the government had not shown enough seriousness to secure the release of the girls.

He said, “Government has not made any serious effort to get these girls back. It is an unfortunate thing and it is because they find it convenient to play politics with the lives of these children.

“The military, no doubt, is limited if it doesn’t have ammunitions to use. Mine is that the people of this country should tell this country to get serious.”

He added that the Nigerian people must mount pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to be serious with the rescue efforts.

“The people from America, France and co, all of them have told the government to get serious, but we, the people of this country, are not telling the government. Until the country gets serious, the government will be toying with the lives of these Chibok girls,” he added.

‘Time to change tactics’

Falana said it was time for government to change its strategies toward the rescue of the girls.

He said, “In view of the inability of the presidential negotiator, Rev. Stephen Davis, to secure the release of the Chibok girls, the Federal Government should adopt other strategies of bringing back our girls.

“Since the military authorities claim to know where the abducted girls are incarcerated they ought to design a strategy for rescuing them without any further delay.”

He also asked the President to immediately direct his various second term campaign groups to desist from making mockery of the “national tragedy” of the missing girls.

“Having regard to the mental agony and psychological stress the parents of the girls are going through, the government should caution some President Jonathan’s campaign groups to desist from making a mockery of the national tragedy,” he said.

Ogunye lamented the fate of the girls, who, he said, had been living in “150 days of misery, pain and uncertainty”.

He said government’s unserious attitude towards rescuing the captives had regrettably forced Nigerians to begin to accept that the girls might never be found again.

The lawyer said, “Having failed in the duty of preventing the abduction, the government has failed again to rescue the girls.

“Now the Nigerian people are being made, wittingly or unwittingly, to accept the possibility that the girls may never be found again. That is a cruel proposition. That is heartbreaking realisation that these girls will never be found intact.

“It is unthinkable, but that is the ‘un-thinkability’ that we are forced to deal with by a government that is unserious and has made irresponsible rebuttal by information managers of the government, who will tell us that President Jonathan did not create the problem so he is not in the position to solve it.”

‘Force government’s hand’

Ogunye called on Nigerians to support the #BringBackOurGirls campaign in order to force the hands of government to ensure that the girls were retrieved from captivity.

He said, “The Nigerian people will have to force the hands of the state. There must be a resolution. They can’t just disappear into thin air and we are then forced to reconcile ourselves to the reality that we are not going to find them again. That is unacceptable. Why then do we have a government?

“The Nigerian people will have to force the hands of this government. They have to support the #BringBackOurGirls movement to do everything civil and democratic to force the hands of the government to address this issue of the kidnap of these girls.”

‘Jonathan should forget 2015

Adegboruwa called on Jonathan to shelve his second term ambition, saying he (the President) had failed to justify his first term.

He said, “It is very unfortunate, and indeed a sad commentary on the security of lives and property in Nigeria, that 150 days after the Chibok girls were abducted, there is no trace, no trace whatsoever of the their whereabouts and the government has not lived up to its responsibility in terms of accounting for the safety and destination of these girls.

“All the assurances and pieces of information that have come out from the military authority as to their location, as to the efforts being made to rescue them paled to total insignificance and the consequence of this is that we cannot boldly say that we have a government that is active in Nigeria.

“Under section 14(2) of the 1999 Constitution, the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of its people and once a government cannot guarantee security and welfare then that government does not deserve to exist.

“I will therefore urge the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to shelve his plan for re-election, having failed to account for the tenure that he is currently enjoying by failing to provide adequate security for the lives and property of Nigerians.”

‘Half-hearted search mission’

Agbaje described government’s attitude towards the rescue of the girl as irresponsible.

He said, “The Presidency has not behaved responsibly, with due respect to him, in respect of the Chibok girls right from the inception. The Presidency never believed that the girls were kidnapped.

“The scenario that has played out is that the Presidency never believed the kidnap; when it believed it invited the parents of the girls to Aso Rock. The implication of all these is that the Presidency is not concerned; it is not moved by the plight of those girls. You can’t give back what you don’t have. What concerns the Presidency is how to re-integrate Ali Modu Sheriff and 2015 elections.”

Mumuni lamented that government had been unable to give the exact location of the girls, five months after they were kidnapped.

He called on the government to muster “sufficient intelligence and political will” to rescue the girls.

He said, “If it is already 150 days since the abduction of those girls, and the government cannot even tell the definite location of these girls now. Whatever efforts government claims it is making, to me, amount to nothing.

“Sufficient intelligence and political will have to be mustered to rescue the girls. All serious, tactical, reasonable efforts to get the girls must be made.”


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