By Emma Njoku
The office of former President Goodluck Jonathan has debunked claims that the last administration rejected an offer by British forces to rescue the kidnapped Chibok school girls.
A statement issued by Media Adviser to the ex-president, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze said the Jonathan administration was so genuinely committed to the rescue of the missing girls that it granted permission to foreign powers to overfly Nigeria’s airspace, while conducting the search and rescue missions.
“Our attention has been drawn to a report that has been trending, without proper attribution, to the effect that the last administration rebuffed British offer to rescue the kidnapped Chibok school girls.
“We wish to promptly point out that nothing can be further from truth, as Nigerians are conversant with the effort made by the Jonathan administration towards rescuing the Chibok girls, especially in relation to collaborating with the international community, in the bid.
“We can, confidently, say the lies in this report are self evident. This is because the international press, as well as the Nigeria media actively covered the multinational efforts and collaboration which involved some of the major powers deploying their crack intelligence officers to work with our own security operatives, and those of our neighbors,” the statement read.
Eze said in the course of the rescue mission, the international team, including members from Nigeria’s neighbours of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, “met regularly with our own intelligence officers to plan and conduct their operations.”
“We would wish to recall that this collaboration was made possible following letters, personally, written by former President Jonathan to President Barack Obama of the United States, President Francois Hollande of France, Mr. David Cameron, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as well as personal contacts made to the governments of Israel and China, seeking their assistance in the search for the abducted Chibok girls,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), with scores of mobile policemen and soldiers, ransacked the Bayelsa home of George Turnah, popularly known as the godson to former President Jonathan.
The fierce-looking operatives of the anti-graft agency were said to have arrived the courtyard of Turnah, located at Kolo Creek, Ogbia local government, at about 5pm on Friday, and, painstakingly, searched various buildings and rooms in the premises till about 10pm.
The commission is said to be investigating alleged cases of corrupt enrichment against Turnah and his involvement in disappearance of money allocated to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Turnah founded the Jonathan Youth Vanguard popularly called Joy 2011, a platform which he used to mobilise support for Jonathan in the 2011 elections and was rewarded with the award of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) and appointed a Special Assistant on Youth Matters to the Managing Director of (NDDC) in 2012.
Following the exit of Jonathan in 2015, Turnah, who floated a conglomerate, El-Godams and Celtic Group of Companies with investments in transport, agriculture and sports, among others, has been on the radar of the EFCC as it looks into the books of the NDDC.