The girls were kidnapped almost two months ago.
The Nigerian military high command on Friday met with the leadership of the United States Interdisciplinary Team for Assistance to Nigeria to discuss the war against the extremist Boko Haram sect and the search for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
The U.S. had set up the team, made up of security and intelligence experts to help Nigeria secure the safe release of the female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok; kidnapped on April 14 by the Boko Haram sect.
Friday’s meeting was attended by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh; Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amos.
The meeting was announced by the Coordinator of the National Information Centre, NIC, Mike Omeri, at a press briefing in Abuja.
Mr. Omeri said the meeting agreed that henceforth, Nigeria will not be pressured into disclosing operational information on efforts to locate the abducted Chibok girls.
“It was resolved that subsequent phases of the efforts (to free the Chibok girls) will feature continuous engagement among the partners,” he said.
Mr. Omeri said efforts to free the remaining over 200 abducted schoolgirls are ongoing.
“There is the need for Nigerians, particularly the media, to recognise the fact that the process of rescue could be hard and time consuming particularly when the partners have agreed the issue of force is not often the priority”, he said.
“Insurgency or terrorism wherever it reared its ugly head has always taken time and if you check the history of other countries like Sri Lanka, even America. So what we should be concerned about is whether efforts are ongoing or not and if we are doing our best and the Nigerian military will continue to do its best.
“We do not intend to resign our commission, we will keep doing our duty, as a matter of duty to fatherland and be sure that someday, with the cooperation of Nigerians, we should get to where we all desire”, he added.
The Nigerian military has announced it knew the whereabouts of the girls but could not use force to free them to avoid casualties.
The kidnap of the girls has been condemned locally and internationally with the military and the Nigerian government criticised for its poor response to the abduction.
One of the critics, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said President Goodluck Jonathan was in denial of the kidnap and would probably have rescued the girls if he (using the military) had acted promptly within 48 hours after the kidnap.
Commenting on reports that some countries were reluctant to help Nigeria in the fight against terrorism because of government’s corruption record, Mr. Omeri said in the past four years, the Federal Government had done a lot to combat corruption.
He however, noted that “if there is insurgency and you accuse someone of corruption and you say because of corruption, you will no longer help in the fight against terrorism, then it speaks about your values; value on human rights, human lives and fight against terrorism. So I think that any country that is really concerned and wants to partner Africa, willing to partner Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, must first fight insurgency.”
“You know that there is a proverb in Africa that if your house is on fire, you will first fight the fire before you begin to search for the cause of the fire. Otherwise, by the time you found the source of the fire, you would have lost your house and you know that the government of Nigeria has set quite a number of efforts in fighting corruption”, he said.
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