Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali has denied having said that the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls would be freed in two weeks’ time, saying that being a purely operational matter, it would be absolutely unfeasible and impracticable to give a specific timeline.
The minister was reported to have given assurances on Saturday during a Channels TV programme that the abducted school girls will soon regain their freedom as the military is closing in on them.
However, a statement signed by the Public Relations officer to the Minister, Tukur Gusau, said it had become necessary to put the minister’s comment in proper context in view of the expected public interest and possible mischief it might have created in certain partisan quarters.
He said: “When he (the minister) was asked to give a timeline for the girls’ rescue, he emphasized that government had intensified efforts and deployed considerable manpower sufficient enough to raise hopes.
Mr Gusau said that the minister however said that, 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.
“’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.”
He added that the minister said: “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.”
According to him, 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 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,” he said.