By Joshua Olalekan, Lagos
The Federal Government has urged the Bring Back Our Girls Group to see it (government) as a partner rather than an adversary in the group’s quest to secure the release of the Chibok girls.
In a statement in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the BBOG’s continued portrayal of the government as an adversary and the needless firing of darts at the President, who is doing his utmost best to bring the girls back home safely, are ultimately counter-productive.
”The Federal Government has bent over backwards to carry the BBOG along and to show transparency in the conduct of the search for the girls. The recent invitation extended to the group to witness first-hand the search for the girls by the Nigerian Air Force is a clear indication of this.
”However, it came to us as a surprise that in spite of its initial positive report on the tour, the BBOG has too quickly reverted to its adversarial role. BBOG should stick to its role as an advocacy group rather than pretending to be an opposition party. The synonyms of the
word ‘advocacy’ do not include ‘antagonism’, ‘opposition’ or ‘attack’. In fact, those words are the antonyms of ‘advocacy’,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said it amounts to needless grandstanding for the BBOG to say it will no longer tolerate ”delays” and ”excuses” from the President on the release of the girls, as reported by the media, noting that such impudent language should have been reserved for those
who did nothing in the first 500 days of the girls’ abduction, not for a President who has presided over the liberation of all captured territory, the opening of shuts schools and roads, the safe release of some of the abducted girls and the decimation of Boko Haram.
He assured Nigerians that the efforts to bring the girls back safely are continuing, but sought their understanding for not divulging any further details so as not to jeopardize the intricate process.
”Let me say unequivocally that the people involved in the negotiations are working 24/7. The negotiations are complicated, tortuous and delicate. Any wrong signal is capable of derailing
things. That’s why the less we say about the talks the better it is for all.
”We need a huge amount of confidence-building, the kind of which led to the release of the 21 of the girls. This has been lacking for years, but right now we are confident that we are on the right track. We won’t do anything to jeopardize these talks, irrespective of the pressure or provocation from any quarter,” the Minister said