Photos: President Jonathan finally meets Chibok parents

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WHILE speaking at the meeting with parents of the abducted girls and leaders of chibok community, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday in Abuja reassured the Chibok community that his Administration is doing everything humanly possible to rescue the over 200 girls abducted from a college there in April and return them safely to their parents.
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Speaking at a meeting in the Presidential Villa with parents of the
abducted girls, some of the girls who escaped from their abductors
and leaders of the community, President Jonathan appealed for
their patience, understanding and cooperation.
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“Anyone who gives you the impression that we are aloof and that
we are not doing what we are supposed to do to get the girls out
is not being truthful.
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“Our commitment is not just to get the girls out, it is also to rout
Boko Haram completely from Nigeria. But we are very, very
mindful of the safety of the girls. We want to return them all alive
to their parents. If they are killed in any rescue effort, then we have
achieved nothing,” President Jonathan told the parents and
community leaders at the meeting which was also attended by
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Governor Isa Yuguda of
Bauchi State and the Senate President, Senator David Mark.
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The President said that although he was yet to visit Chibok in the
aftermath of the abductions, his heart was constantly with its
traumatized parents and people, and his desire was to visit them
when their daughters have been freed and they can receive him
with smiling faces of joy, rather than with tears of anguish.

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“Our duty now is to take all relevant steps to recover our girls
alive and our primary interest is getting them out as safely as
possible. I will not want to say much, but we are doing everything
humanly possible to get the girls out.

“This not the time for talking much. This is the time for action. We
will get to the time that we will tell stories. We will get to the time
that we will celebrate and I assure you that, by God’s grace, that
time will come soon,” President Jonathan told them.

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Responding to appeals from the community leaders for more help
in overcoming some of the challenges imposed on Chibok and
neighbouring communities by the Boko Haram insurgency, the
President said that the National Emergency Management Agency
(NEMA) and Federal Medical Agencies will intensify their efforts to
provide them with additional relief aid and assistance.

He also assured them that Chibok and other communities in the
three North-Eastern States most affected by the Boko Haram
insurgency will be the first beneficiaries of the Victims’ Support
Fund, the Presidential Initiative for the North-East, the Safe
Schools Initiative and other developmental programmes which the
Federal Government is evolving to address the damage, losses,
setbacks, economic and social dislocations occasioned by the
Boko Haram insurgency.

Chibok girls that escaped
Chibok girls that escaped

“We solicit your maximum cooperation. Let us work together. Evil
can never overcome good. We will surely overcome Boko Haram,”
he told them.

In his remarks at the meeting, Governor Shettima called for more
sobriety, reflection and unity of purpose in the fight against
terrorism in the country.

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He pledged that his state will give President Jonathan the fullest
possible support for his efforts to address the problems caused by
terrorism and the Boko Haram insurgency.
Dr. Pogu Bitrus presented the Chibok community’s address to the
President.

Other speakers at the meeting included a district head, Mr.
Zannamadu Usman, a member of the Borno State House of
Assembly, Hon. Aminu Foni Chibok, parents of the abducted girls
and three of the girls who escaped from their captors, Godia
Simon, Dorcas Musa and Joy Bishara.

National Security Chiefs, Ministers and other senior government
officials were also present at the meeting.