President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a fresh investigation into the abduction of 219 girls from Government Secondary in Chibok, Borno State.
A panel to investigate the incident which occurred in April 2014 is to be named by the National Security Adviser Babagana Munguno, a statement by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said Thursday.
The girls, abducted by the insurgent group, Boko Haram, on April 14, 2014, have remained missing for nearly two years.
An earlier investigation ordered by former President Goodluck Jonathan led the nation nowhere in the search for the girls.
The new probe, coming about seven months into the Buhari presidency, will seek to, among other things, unravel the remote and immediate circumstances leading the kidnap of the girls as well the other events, actions and inactions that followed the incident, Mr. Shehu said.
Mr. Buhari on Thursday met with some parents of the girls and Bring Back Our Girls, a group campaigning for the girls’ release.
The statement said the president assured the parents of the Chibok girls that he was doing his best and will continue to do everything possible to rescue them and re-unite them with their families.
“I assure you that I go to bed and wake up every day with the Chibok girls on my mind.
“The unfortunate incident happened before this government came into being.
“What have we done since we assumed office? We re-organized the military, removed all the service chiefs and ordered the succeeding service chiefs to deal decisively with the Boko Haram insurgency.
“In spite of the terrible economic condition we found ourselves in, we tried to get some resources to give to the military to reorganize and equip, retrain, deploy more troops and move more forcefully against Boko Haram.
“And you all know the progress we have made. When we came in Boko Haram was in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. Boko Haram has now been reduced to areas around Lake Chad.
“Securing the Chibok girls is my responsibility. The service chiefs and heads of our security agencies will tell you that in spite of the dire financial straits that we found the country in, I continue to do my best to support their efforts in that regard.
“This is a Nigeria where we were exporting average of two million barrels per day at over 140 dollars per barrel. Now it is down to about 27 to 30 dollars.
“You have been reading in the press how they took public funds, our funds, your funds and shared it, instead of buying weapons. That was the kind of leadership I succeeded. That was the kind of economy I inherited.
“God knows I have done my best and I will continue to do my best,” Mr. Buhari said.
The president was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd).
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence staff told the meeting that in the last three months the military has liberated more than 3000 people kidnapped by Boko Haram in the North eastern part of the country.
He said the military had the ability to rescue the Chibok girls, but added that “intelligence is delicate and we don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the lives of the girls”.