The cat and mouse relationship between the federal government and the Bring Back Our Girls(BBOG) group, may linger if the latest admonition is anything to go by.
The federal government has urged the group to see it as a partner rather than adversary in the quest to secure the release of the Chibok girls.
In a statement in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the BBOG’s continued portrayal of the government as an adversary and the needless firing of darts at President Muhammadu Buhari, were ultimately counter-productive.
Mohammed said that the President was doing his utmost best to bring the girls back home safely.
“The Federal Government has bent over backwards to carry the BBOG along and to show transparency in the conduct of the search for the girls.
“The recent invitation extended to the group to witness first-hand the search for the girls by the Nigerian Air Force is a clear indication of this.
“However, it came to us as a surprise that in spite of its initial positive report on the tour, the BBOG has too quickly reverted to its adversarial role.
“BBOG should stick to its role as an advocacy group rather than pretending to be an opposition party.
“The synonyms of the word ‘advocacy’ do not include ‘antagonism’, ‘opposition’ or ‘attack’, in fact those words are the antonyms of ‘advocacy’’, he said.
The minister said it amounted to needless grandstanding for the BBOG to say it would no longer tolerate “delays’’ and “excuses” from the President on the release of the girls, as reported by the media.
According to him, such “impudent’’ language should have been reserved for those who did nothing in the first 500 days of the girls’ abduction, and not for Buhari.
Mohammed said Buhari as President has presided over the liberation of all captured territory, the opening of shut schools and roads, the safe release of some of the abducted girls and the decimation of Boko Haram.
He assured Nigerians that the efforts to bring the girls back safely were continuing, but sought their understanding for not divulging any further details so as not to jeopardise the intricate process.
“Let me say unequivocally that the people involved in the negotiations are working 24/7.
“The negotiations are complicated, tortuous and delicate. Any wrong signal is capable of derailing things. That’s why the less we say, the better for all.
“We need a huge amount of confidence-building, the kind of which led to the release of 21 of the girls. This has been lacking for years, but right now we are confident that we are on the right track.
“We won’t do anything to jeopardise these talks, irrespective of the pressure or provocation from any quarter”, the minister said.