Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, has said it is unfair for anybody to see President Goodluck Jonathan as the problem in the case of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State about three months ago.
He said the attempt to ignore the issues and paint Jonathan as the problem had resulted in deliberate mischief fueled by ignorance and sponsored propaganda.
Abati made his position known in an opinion titled ‘Nigeria’s offensive against Boko Haram Charges of a do-nothing strategy are misconceived’ published by Washington Times.
Abati however admitted that the concern that had been expressed over the abduction of the girls was legitimate and understandable.
“What is not fair, and which stands out in many of the criticisms directed at the Nigerian government, is the attempt to ignore the issues and argue that President Goodluck Jonathan is the problem.
“This attempt to turn the matter of the abducted girls into a referendum on the Jonathan administration has resulted in a complete misreading of the situation and much deliberate mischief fueled by ignorance and sponsored propaganda,” he wrote.
The presidential spokesman said the most popular misconception was the notion that the Jonathan administration had consciously adopted a “do-nothing” strategy, and that the government only responded and considered international partnership necessary after pressure was mounted on it to do something.
He recalled that the Boko Haram threat dated back to 2002 and had become a bigger menace, and a full-scale terrorist movement by the time Jonathan assumed office in 2010.
He said the sect’s elements and their international allies had carved out enclaves in the northeast of the country by hosting their flags and threatening to destabilise the government and impose an Islamic state.
During the past four years, Abati said Jonathan had taken proactive steps to combat terrorism, including military, political and social actions.