The British High Commission in Abuja has debunked a report by London-based Observer newspaper, which reported at the weekend that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan rejected the offer by the British Royal Armed Force (RAF) to help rescue over 200 Chibok schoolgirls, when they were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.
to enquiries by , Arise News Network,
the British High Commission on Tuesday said the allegation that the RAF
was over the area for a number of months and actually located the girls
within weeks, but the Nigerian government under former President
Jonathan turned down its offer to rescue the girls, “was false”.
Also reinforcing this, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United
Nations Security Council and head of the delegation to the Lake Chad
region, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft, dismissed the allegation when the
question was put forward to him during a press briefing on Monday.
“The British High Commissioner briefed me on that today (Monday) and said that the allegations are not true,” Rycroft said.
When pressed for further clarifications by Arise TV, he directed all enquiries to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria.
However, the British High Commission, in its statement, said “a more
cordial, collaborative and unified approach between Nigeria and her
allies than the reported differences was used”.
The statement added:
“UK worked with the US and France to provide a range of military and
intelligence support to the Nigerian government in their search (for the
Chibok girls), and in fact, a wider effort to address the longer term
challenge of terrorism.
“But importantly, we won’t comment on
specific additional details, which is a matter for the Nigerian
government and the military.”
Jonathan, in reaction to the story, has already dismissed the allegation as patently false.
Speaking on the overall objective of the visit, Rycroft said the Boko
Haram crisis was “one of the most neglected crisis and we want to shine a
spotlight on that crisis”.
The envoy also urged the global
community including the governments of the Lake Chad region to step up
and respond to the crisis before it is too late.
“Part of that
crisis is terrorism and we stand with the government and people of this
region and particularly the government of Nigeria in confronting Boko
Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region.
“The UN Security Council applauds the works of the MNJTF.
“Talking about the UN sending a peacekeeping force: that has not been
requested by the government of Nigeria, I am aware. That we can do as a
bilateral agreement with the government of Nigeria,” he added.
the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Ambassador Edward Kalom, said that the
magnitude of the crisis in Nigeria was of global concern.
said that UN had mapped out strategies to reach 6.9 million of the most
affected internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the
North-east, out of the 8.5 million that need humanitarian assistance
before the 2019 general election.
He said: “We are talking about 14
million people that are affected by the Boko Haram crisis in North-east
Nigeria and about 8.5 million of these people need urgent humanitarian
“And the UN has prepared a 2017 humanitarian plan to
reach about 6.9 million of the most affected people in North-east
Nigeria and I want to repeat that we have a timeline of 18 months to
address the serious humanitarian situation in the region.
because after 18 months, the government of Nigeria will be busy with
elections. And elections in this clime may affect how we address the
“And in this regard, we congratulate the
government of Nigeria and Cameroun for signing the tripartite agreement
with the UNHCR last week.”