There has been a lot of controversy since the abduction of about 276 female students of Chibok Secondary School by terrorist group Boko Haram, in April 2014.
The prevailing one being that the then president, Goodluck Jonathan refused to acknowledge or act on the report of the abduction weeks after it happened.
The abduction led to a worldwide campaign tagged “#BringBackOurGirls” and the creation of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Advocacy group who are still very much active today.
57 of the abducted girls escaped on the night of the abduction. One of them was found in May last year and 23 of them were released last October following negotiations between the Federal government and the terrorist sect which was mediated by the Red Cross and the Swiss government.
According to a report published by The Guardian UK, Jonathan’s administration rejected an officer from the British governmet to rescue the girls after an air surveillance reealed their location days after their abduction.
Read an excerpt of the report here:
British armed forces offered to attempt to rescue nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, but were rebuffed by Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president at the time, the Observer has learned.
In a mission named Operation Turus, the RAF conducted air reconnaissance over northern Nigeria for several months, following the kidnapping of 276 girls from the town of Chibok in April 2014. “The girls were located in the first few weeks of the RAF mission,” a source involved in Operation Turus told the Observer. “We offered to rescue them, but the Nigerian government declined.”
The girls were then tracked by the aircraft as they were dispersed into progressively smaller groups over the following months, the source added.
Notes from meetings between UK and Nigerian officials, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also suggest that Nigeria shunned international offers to rescue the girls. While Nigeria welcomed an aid package and assistance from the US, the UK and France in looking for the girls, it viewed any action to be taken against kidnapping as a “national issue”.
“Nigeria’s intelligence and military services must solve the ultimate problem,” said Jonathan in a meeting with the UK’s then Africa minister, Mark Simmonds, on 15 May 2014.
A document summarising a meeting in Abuja in September 2014 between Nigeria’s national security adviser and James Duddridge MP, former under-secretary of state at the Foreign Office, shows Operation Turus had advanced to the point where rescue options were being discussed. Minutes from a meeting the following month between Major-General James Chiswell and Jonathan hinted at the frustration felt by those trying to prompt some action from Nigeria.
“(President) Jonathan was still focused on ‘platforms’. General Chiswell said again we could offer advice on what equipment might make sense and how weapon systems might be best deployed,” the October 2014 document stated.
The Nigerian government did not respond to a request for comment. The Foreign Office said: “We wouldn’t comment on specific operational details, which are a matter for the Nigerian government and military.”
Read the full report HERE.