Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that President Goodluck Jonathan lived in denial about the abducted Chibok schoolgirls for more than two weeks, withholding valuable decisions that would have led to the rescue of the girls.
Obasanjo who spoke in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa, on Saturday., said “The president did not believe that those girls were abducted for almost 18 days,” stressing that “If the president got the information within 12 hours of the act and he reacted immediately, I believe those girls would have been rescued within 24 hours, maximum 48 hours.”
Obasanjo said that rather than spring into action after receiving briefings about the abduction, “the president had doubts,” stressing that the president’s initial action was to ask: “‘Is this true, or is it a ploy by people who don’t want me to be president again?’”
The former president said that Jonathan’s lethargic approach to the kidnapping was the “most unfortunate aspect of the whole issue.”
Boko Haram kidnapped over 250 schoolgirls from their hostels in Government Secondary School Chibok, in the early hours of April 14, but President Jonathan only acknowledged it 20 days later, after international pressures mounted, ahead of the World Economic Forum for Africa, hosted in Abuja.
The president first spoke about the abduction in a media chat where he blamed the parents of the schoolgirls for not volunteering information about the victims and the incident.
Obasanjo, who is currently in talks with mediators to help free the victims, said an equal lethargy by President Jonathan greeted his earlier efforts to end the insurgency three years ago.