Nigeria: Presidency’s statement on abducted girls ‘a trick’

LAGOS (AA) – The Nigerian presidency on Friday said hackers may have compromised its media mailing system, slamming a recent statement released by the system – that claimed that President Goodluck Jonathan had revealed the location of abducted schoolgirls – as a “dirty trick.”

“[A] press release which alleged that President Jonathan had revealed the location of the [abducted] Chibok girls is political dirty trick,” presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement Friday.

“All media organizations and persons on my mailing list should kindly disregard the press release purportedly issued by me earlier today titled: ‘President Jonathan reveals location of Chibok girls and exposes Boko Haram masterminds’.”

Anadolu Agency, for its part, did not receive the statement, purportedly issued earlier today by the spokesman’s mailing system.

“No such press release was written or circulated by me,” Abati asserted. “It is clearly the work of fraudsters who have hacked into my email account in an odious attempt to mislead the public at the expense of the credibility of the Jonathan administration.”

However, he said the “incoherence” of the “fraudulent” statement – which invited readers to click on a link – had revealed that it was not genuine as it failed to adhere to “the style and format” of his previous statements.

“We totally condemn this criminal resort to political dirty tricks, which seek to cynically play on national concerns and emotions about the Boko Haram insurgency and the fate of the abducted Chibok girls,” Abati stated.

The abduction of the schoolgirls – and their continued captivity – has remained a major issue for the Jonathan government, which has been criticized for its slow response to the kidnapping and its failure so far to secure the girls’ release.

Nigerian security agents have repeatedly claimed to know the girls’ whereabouts – but neither they nor the president have publicly revealed the information.

The army has said that, despite its knowledge of the girls’ location, it would not employ force to rescue them, citing fears that the girls – abducted in April – might be hurt or killed in a rescue operation.

The opposition All Progressive Congress, meanwhile, has used the issue to taunt President Jonathan and his ruling People’s Democratic Party, which it accuses of incompetence.


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