The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday said it had conceded information dissemination on the abduction of some female students from Government Secondary School (GSS) Chibok to the Borno State Government in order to avoid issuing conflicting statements to members of the public.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, in a statement made available to journalists, said a lot of information had been received in an attempt to secure the release of the girls.
Olukolade said despite the fact that some of the information was of no operational value to the armed forces, they would remain disposed to receiving, analysing and applying all relevant information on the issue.
He assured Nigerians that the armed forces would accordingly continue to appraise every information received during the period of the operation.
The director of information noted, however, that most of the information, some of which had been mischievously publicised for sensational reasons, had turned out to be spurious and of no operational use.
“Disturbingly, some of them have been mischievously sensationalised and publicised with a view to heightening tension and inflicting more pain on the nation as envisaged by the terrorists.”
“While it will not relent in its efforts in this search, the armed forces is mindful of the fact that some of the information with which it has been inundated is actually a ploy to distract it from its goal of dealing with terrorism and other violent crimes aimed at crippling the nation,” he assured.
Olukolade, however, said despite the efforts of the military at rescuing the girls is continuing, “the government of Borno State whose Commissioner for Education has been giving a regular update on the incident at the initial stage is enjoined to continue in order to satisfy the necessity for information flow.”
He said: “The state government in whose facility the incident occurred is appropriately placed to continue with regular briefing as the state commissioner for Education has been doing.
“This is in line with best practices in other climes more so as all agencies of every tier of government are expected to continue functioning in the state.”
Olukolade added that security agencies on ground in the state would continue to interact and support the state government officials in their efforts to inform the public on the Chibok incident and progress in the search without any prejudice.
The Defence spokesman noted that the Nigerian military had always subscribed to the importance of information flow to the public and would continue to sustain this policy in all its internal security operations.
“In view of the need to provide daily updates on the search of the abducted girls, the Defence Headquarters has directed that henceforth, progress reports on the search will be handled by the Borno State Government.
“The security forces on ground in the state have been directed to coordinate with the state government and provide them with necessary information on the search for the girls,” he stated.
According to him, the Nigerian armed forces understands and appreciates the concerns being shown by all the citizens in and out of the country on the unfortunate incident of abduction of some female students from GSS Chibok.
He promised that alongside the search for the girls, the military was currently committed to various security operations in most parts of the northern Nigeria where troops are deployed in forests and mountains, combating terrorists and armed gangs of various descriptions.
Olukolade reaffirmed the military’s unflinching resolve to continue to discharge its responsibility in defending the territorial integrity and the people of Nigeria in the most professional manner.
“This will apply in the search for the missing girls which is ongoing concurrently with other security operations nationwide,” he said.