Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Defence, has denied giving a deadline of two weeks for the rescue of the 110 girls abducted by Boko Haram in Dapchi town, Yobe State.
The Minister in a statement on Monday stated that when he was asked to give a timeline for the girls’ rescue during a television interview, he declined to give a specific timeline.
Dan-Ali said he emphasised that government had intensified efforts and deployed considerable manpower sufficient enough to raise hopes, but being a purely operational matter, it would be absolutely unfeasible and impracticable to give a specific timeline for the eventual freedom of the abducted girls.
The minister stated: “The timeline he talked about was strictly an operational timeline which was to determine the progress of the ongoing search by the defence forces but definitely not a timeline for the girls’ freedom because of the delicate emotional fallout it could have on the girls’ parents and loved ones,” the Minister said in the statement issued on his behalf by Colonel Tukur Gusau, his public relations officer.”
‘’It can be earlier, may be a week, it can be two weeks, but we are on it, and I’m telling you with all sense of sincerity that we are closing in on them,’’ the Minister said quoting what he said during the interview.
‘’We will ensure that whatever means to rescue these girls will be done to get the girls…This type of issue has no timeline. Even if it has, we can only give it (timeline) to the forces, i.e. by these means we want you to give us an output of what you’ve been doing, but for this kind of issues you cannot say by this time you must bring them by so (and) so date’’.
“The minister was mindful of the prevailing high public anxiety over the girls’ safety so he was very careful in answering the interviewer’s question about giving a specific timeline because of the delicate nature of the issue,” the statement said.