A former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s claims in Damaturu, Yobe, that he handled the recent abduction of 110 Dapchi schoolgirls ‘much better’ than Mr. Jonathan treated a similar incident in Chibok in 2014 is false.
Reno Omokri in a statement on Thursday rather defended his former boss saying it was Mr. Jonathan who treated the abduction with dispatch while Mr. Buhari chose to “look the other way”.
President Buhari, while speaking in Damaturu where he went to sympathise with the parents of the Dapchi schoolgirls had used the occasion to take a swipe at his predecessor, who had also been criticised in the past for the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls, although many have been reunited with their families.
Mr. Buhari is currently touring states ruptured by bloodletting in recent months after he had been criticised for not doing so. He has already visited Benue and Plateau states and is expected to visit few others.
Mr. Buhari in Damaturu had said: “The Federal Government’s response to the unfortunate abduction of the school girls is a clear departure from the insensitivity of the past administration which looked the other way while the Chibok girls were taken away in 2014 and held in captivity for over three years.
“Due to our commitment, over 100 Chibok girls have been rescued and reunited with their families, sent back to school and empowered with requisite skills.”
However, Mr. Omokri said it beats his “imagination why a President who is close to 80 years of age will continue to lie like a child”.
Below is Mr. Omokri’s statement defending Mr. Jonathan and flaying Mr. Buhari’s comments in Damaturu:
“When the Chibok Girls were kidnapped, the Jonathan administration did not “look the other way” as President Buhari claims and historical records prove this. The Chibok Girls were kidnapped on April 14, 2014. Exactly three days later, on April 17, 2014, then President Goodluck Jonathan called an emergency National Security Council meeting at Aso Rock Presidential Villa. Is this the act of an administration or a President that looks away?
“Now more than two weeks after the Dapchi Girls were kidnapped, has President Buhari held a National Security Council meeting to address the situation? No, he has not. As a matter of fact, to prove to Nigerians how inept he is, the President canceled the Federal Executive Council meeting that was to hold after the Dapchi Girls were kidnapped because of a conference he had to attend.
“Between a President who calls an emergency meeting after Chibok and a President who canceled an important meeting so he could attend an economic conference, who can be described as looking the other way?
“Which serious leader cancels the most important meeting in his nation at a time when Kaduna is facing ethnic and religious killings, Zamfara is facing mass killings by bandits, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba are facing an onslaught from Fulani herdsmen and 110 girls were kidnapped in Dapchi?
“When Yusuf Buhari had an accident, President Buhari canceled all his engagements and headed straight to the hospital. When the Dapchi Girls were kidnapped, the same President Buhari carried on as usual and went to Kano to go and dance and socialise at a Society Wedding!
“After the Jonathan administration held an emergency National Security Council meeting on April 17, 2014, the Nigerian Army and Air force began searching for the Chibok girls with sorties being flown in search of the girls.
“Let me remind Nigerians that one of the people who undermined the then administration’s anti-terror war was Muhammadu Buhari who on June 3, 2013 said the “military offensive against Boko Haram is anti-North”. I urge Nigerians to Google this direct quote to know their President better.
“And again, the President lied when he said his administration “rescued” 100 Chibok Girls. The Chibok Girls were not rescued. As a matter of fact, they were released by Boko Haram after the alleged payment of huge ransoms and freedom of captured Boko Haram commanders by the Buhari administration.
“Only two weeks ago, Shuaibu Moni, one of the Boko Haram commanders released by the Buhari administration went back to Sambisa Forest and released a video threatening Nigeria.
“Who knows whether it was moneys allegedly paid as ransom to Boko Haram or individuals freed by the government that were used to facilitate the kidnap of the Dapchi Girls and the recent killings of United Nations staff in Rann.
“Again, three weeks ago, Chief Mike Okiro, the head of the Police Service Commission, revealed that under President Muhammadu Buhari, 150,000 police men are guarding ‘big men’ instead of performing core police duties.
“President Buhari’s son, Yusuf, alone had more guards guarding him than the guards attached to Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi at the time of the kidnapping, yet the President has the guts to say he handled Dapchi better than Jonathan handled Chibok. A serious President, knowing how vulnerable the Northeast is would have sent these 150,000 policemen to guard schools in the Northeast rather than send them out to guard APC big shots all over the country.
“Finally, can President Buhari, who claims to have defeated Boko Haram, tell the world how many people are killed daily by Boko Haram under his regime as compared to the previous regime?
“In the first ten weeks of 2018, Boko Haram killed 519 people in the Northeast. Only a patently dishonest leader can claim to have defeated Boko Haram with such numbers.”
Mr. Buhari’s tour is already receiving more knocks than commendations.
In Makurdi, the president was derided by many when he said he was unaware, three months after, that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, failed to obey his directive to relocate to Benue to contain the perennial conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.
While many have called for the sack of Mr. Idris, the controversial cop was reportedly summoned by the president to give an update in the raging crisis in Benue state while presidential sources say the president would act on the matter “when he has all the details”.