The Presidency has denied reports that President Goodluck Jonathan was booed in Pretoria, South Africa during the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma for a second term in office over his perceived mishandling of the case of the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State.
There had been reports that the crowd at the inauguration registered their disapproval of government’s inability to rescue the girls one month after, with boos of “Bring back our girls” directed at Jonathan as he stepped into the venue of the swearing in.
But briefing State House correspondents late on Saturday on arrival from South Africa, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, described the reports as untrue.
Abati said the reports fit into an ongoing attempt to throw just anything at the present administration in an attempt to discredit it. “It is unfortunate on our arrival, I read one or two reports alleging that the President was jeered at the inauguration ceremony.
“This is absolutely untrue and those who are peddling that kind of misinformation are being unfair, they are being uncharitable and it fits into an ongoing attempt to throw just about anything at this administration in attempt to discredit the administration.
“If anything, what we saw and witnessed in South Africa is that the people of South Africa showed much appreciation of President Jonathan’s presence at the inauguration ceremony and President Jonathan received great hospitality in terms of the response from the people.
“The whole world recognises that the challenge that we face in Nigeria at the moment in relation to the abduction of the girls and the challenge of terrorism; yes the outrage is shared both by Nigerians and other people all over the world but the world also realises that terrorism is a global challenge and this administration continues to show a great resolve to deal with the problem.
“The momentum is on and you know the message from government is that, government is saying categorically, ‘No to Boko Haram’, ‘No to terrorism’ and the people of Nigeria are calling on the terrorists to release the girls.
“Government is saying that it will do everything within its power, explore all options, leave no stone unturned to ensure that our girls are brought back.
“In that regards, there is a meeting of minds and Nigerians can be very sure that President Jonathan is really committed to this effort to ensure that the girls are brought back and safely too.”
Abati noted that Nigeria and South Africa are two friendly and brotherly countries with strong bilateral relations in many areas including trade and investments, diplomacy, immigration, customs, security and power among others.