FORMER Nigerian president Dr Goodluck Jonathan has dismissed the version of events surrounding the kidnapping of the Chibok girls in 2014 put forward by ex-British prime minister David Cameron saying that at no stage did the UK offer to help rescue them.
In April 2014, Boko Haram stormed Government Girls Secondary School Chibok and abducted 274 pupils, most of whom have been released. In his recent memoirs, Mr Cameron said that at the time, Britain offered to help rescue the girls but the offer was rebuffed by the Nigerian government.
Dr Jonathan, who was Nigeria’s president at the time, has denied this version of events, saying that he called Mt Cameron to inform him about developments and at no stage did Britain offer to send a rescue mission to free the girls. According to Dr Jonathan, he and Mr Cameron fell out because the UK insisted that he should legalise gay marriage but he rejected this and signed the Nigerian Same Sex Bill into law.
According to Mr Cameron British troops traced the location of some of the victims and offered to help but Dr Jonathan refused the assistance. However, Dr Jonathan said nothing of such ever occurred, adding that he even wrote to Mr Cameron, US president Barrack Obama, and the then French President, François Hollande, as well as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appealing to them for help in rescuing the Chibok girls.
Dr Jonathan said: “How could I write to appeal for help and then reject the very thing I appealed for? Also, history contradicts Mr Cameron as on March 8, 2012, when the same Boko Haram-linked terrorists abducted a British expatriate named Chris McManus, along with an Italian hostage Franco Lamolinara, in Sokoto, I, as Nigerian president, personally authorised a rescue effort by members of the British military Special Boat Service supported by officers and men of the Nigerian Army, to free the abducted men.
“So, having set a precedent like that, why would I reject British help in rescuing the Chibok girls, if it was offered? I also authorised the secret deployment of troops from the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel as a result of the Chibok incident, so how Mr Cameron could say this with a straight face beats me.
“Moreover, on March 8, 2017, the British government of former prime minister, Theresa May, in a widely circulated press statement, debunked this allegation and said there was no truth in it after Cameron had made similar statements to the Observer of the UK. In his book, Mr Cameron failed to mention that I wrote him requesting his help on Chibok, why did he suppress that information?
“I remind him that copies of that letter exist at the state houses in Nigeria and London. He never called me on the phone to offer any help. On the contrary, I am the one that reached out to him.”
According to Dr Jonathan he knew that Mr Cameron has long nursed deep grudges against him as he came under almost unbearable pressure to pass legislation supporting LGBTQ same sex marriage in Nigeria. He added that his conscience could not stomach that because as president of Nigeria, he swore on the bible to advance Nigeria’s interests and not the interest of the United Kingdom or any foreign power.