Defence minister, Mansur Dan-Ali has denied reports circulating in media platforms quoting him as saying on Dateline Abuja, a Channels Television interview programme which was aired at the weekend that the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls will regain freedom in two weeks.
A statement by Col Tukur Gusau, Spokesman of the minister said, “It has therefore become necessary to put the minister’s comment on the issue in proper context in view of the expected public interest and possible mischief that may be created in certain partisan quarters which may have been generated since the interview was aired.
“It should be stated that when he was asked to give a timeline for the girls’ rescue, the minister emphasized that government had intensified efforts and deployed considerable manpower sufficient enough to raise hopes but being a purely operational matter, it would be absolutely unfeasible and impracticable to give a specific timeline for the eventual freedom of the abducted girls.
‘’We will ensure that whatever means to rescue these girls will be done to get the girls…This type of issue has no timeline. Even if it has, we can only give it (timeline) to the forces, i.e. by these means we want you to give us an output of what you’ve been doing, but for this kind of issues you cannot say by this time you must bring them by so (and) so date’’.
He added: ‘’It can be earlier, may be a week, it can be two weeks, but we are on it, and I’m telling you with all sense of sincerity that we are closing in on them’’.
The minister was mindful of the prevailing high public anxiety over the girls’ safety so he was very careful in answering the interviewer’s question about giving a specific timeline because of the delicate nature of the issue.
The timeline he talked about was strictly an operational timeline which was to determine the progress of the ongoing search by the defence forces but definitely not a timeline for the girls’ freedom because of the delicate emotional fallout it could have on the girls’ parents and loved ones.
In the meantime, more than 2,000 armed police men have been deployed to schools as part of the measures towards enhanced protection in public schools in the North East.
A competent senior police officer, who confirmed the deployments to PR-Nigeria noted that the police personnel would be posted to 300 schools in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states for protection of students and teachers in the schools,.
The officer noted that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, would embark on appraisal visits in the Northeast where he will visit the schools towards assessing the performance of police men.
IGP idris will also visit Dapchi community in Yobe State to commiserate with their families of the 110 abducted girls.
The IG would also have meetings with various stakeholders engaging in the fight against Boko Haram with a view to support them.
He will also interact with top government officials, community leaders and traditional rulers as part of his effort to strengthened synergy in the campaign against Boko Haram.
Despite deploying an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), to relocate to Maiduguri to compliment the military effort to rescue the Dapchi abducted school girls from Boko Haram, after returning from medical vocation, the IGP believes it is necessary to visit the Northeast and see things for himself.
“I want to reassure Nigerians that the IGP is committed toward his primary mandate of protecting lives and properties from all part of the country,” the officer said.