Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has described as unfortunate a recent claim by President Goodluck Jonathan that the abduction of the Chibok girls was aimed at bringing down his government.
The former leader also warned the Nigerian military against using what he termed “Public Relations propaganda” to secure the release of the Chibok Girls.
Obasanjo handed this warning while speaking with Channels Television in Lagos on Thursday night.
Asked to react to comments made by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, that the Nigerian military knew the whereabouts of the abducted girls, Obasanjo said, “This is not an issue that you will play public relations propaganda with.
“It is a serious issue that is like a spear in the heart of the parents and whatever statement we make and action we take, if it will not really deal with the issue in a way that will bring those girls out safe and secure and make their families happy and will also give every Nigerian a sense of security, then such statements should not be made,” he said.
He said that he would be pleasantly surprised if the Chibok girls were “returned intact.”
On his recent meeting with some top members of the Boko Haram sect, Obasanjo said that he was planning to inform President Goodluck Jonathan before holding talks on the Chibok girls “but was surprised at how certain meetings have turned out.”
“I cannot have a plan without the Presidency being involved,” he said.
He added that he was not “going on a one -man mission,” to rescue the kidnapped girls, insisting that doing so would be “idiotic.”
Obasanjo said he was beaten by Shehu Sani to letting the state and national authorities know the meeting had taken place.
He added, “I have to involve the President and he also tells me this is what we are doing or this is what we are pursuing either in addition or along with what we are doing or not.”
Commenting on the claim by President Jonathan that the abduction of the girls was done to bring down his government, Obasanjo said such thought was “unfortunate.”
“If the Presidency is obsessed with one thing and one thing only and any other thing of concern to Nigeria is secondary, then the Presidency will take that position, then this will be unfortunate,” he said.