By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday said that securing the release and safe return of the missing 219 Chibok girls was his responsibility.
This came as he ordered National Security Adviser, NSA, General Babagana Munguno to set up a panel to investigate the abduction of the girls from Government Secondary in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014.
The panel however is yet to be named by NSA.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu on Thursday stated that the “investigation will seek to, among other things, unravel the remote and immediate circumstances leading the kidnap of the girls by Boko Haram terrorists as well the other events, actions and in actions that followed the incident.”
Meanwhile, speaking at a meeting attended by some parents of the abducted girls, representatives of the Chibok community and members of the Bring Back Our Girls movement at the Banquet Hall of the State House, President Buhari said that he remained fully committed to his pledge to rescue the girls.
He regretted that the previous government he succeeded failed to purchase the necessary weapons meant to adequately combat insurgency in the country.
“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.
President Buhari who was accompanied to the meeting 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) however stated he had tried his best to secure the release of the girls.