The Islamist sect, Boko Haram, is believed to be desperate to use over 100 students of Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State it
abducted last week as human shield, as plan to rescue them by the military intensifies.
The National Security Council at its expanded meeting on Thursday gave the military a marching order to rescue the girls.
The military operation is being co-ordinated by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, who has been shuttling between Abuja and Maiduguri in the last one week.
The Nation gathered yesterday that the armed forces are taking maximum caution in handling the situation with a view to saving the lives of the girls.
“Intelligence report confirmed that Boko Haram found it strategic to keep the girls to save their camps from bombardment by troops,” a highly placed source said.
Troops are understood to be advancing on the area where the girls are being kept.
The source said: “From available security reports, troops are around the axis where the abducted girls are being held hostage.
“Details of the exact location cannot be made public.
“Even the submissions of the service chiefs at the security council meeting were tactical for operational reasons.
“The military was trying to avoid collateral damage because the affected area is bigger. It is as big as the whole of Ikeja, Lagos.”
The military and the Borno State Government are not saying much for fear that Boko Haram with its widespread cells might pick up sensitive information.
A high-powered tactical team was, on Tuesday, dispatched to Borno State by Air Chief Marshall Badeh to boost the morale of troops assigned to liberate the abducted girls.
The team returned to Abuja on Thursday night.
Another source added: “The team went to give moral and psychological support to the troops to enable them meet the expectations of Nigerians to rescue the girls.
“Comprising some Generals in the Armed Forces, the team also shared technical information with the troops to accomplish the mission.”
It was also learnt that plan by aggrieved women in Borno State to go into Sambisa Forest to look for the abducted girls may not work.
A government source said: “No one will allow these women to go into the forest. These women will also not attempt it because of the delicate nature of the terrain.”
More facts also emerged yesterday on the confrontation between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State at the Security Council meeting over the governor’s controversial letter on the state of insecurity in the Northeast.
Two versions of the drama on Nyako’s toxic letter to Northern governors were relayed to our correspondent last night by sources at the meeting.
One of the source said: “When President Goodluck Jonathan raised the matter on the agenda, Nyako said he holds the President in high esteem and would not do anything to undermine his office.
“The governor also said ‘Mr. President, you are a good man, but you have some people around you that are bad.’
“The President was not carried away by Nyako’s sentiments and he asked the governor to address the issues in the letter. He asked Nyako to read the letter to the council.
“Nyako owned up to the contents of the letter and read it without any remorse. Like a school boy, he stood up to read the letter.
“After the reading session, the President asked Nyako: What do you have to say? While still on his feet, Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Martin Elechi (Ebonyi) descended him.”
An unperturbed Nyako refused to apologize even though most of the governors disapproved of his letter.
The Northern governors were shocked that Nyako did not back up his claim with any intelligence fact.
Another source said: “It was true that Nyako initially went cyclical praising the President who was unmoved by his U-turn.
“At a point, the President attempted to read the letter and when he was trying to shuffle through it.
“In a brave manner, the Adamawa State Governor sought the indulgence of the President to read the letter to the hearing of the council members.
“But Nyako could actually not defend the contents of the letter. Or, maybe as a former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, he knew too much and he did not want to divulge it at the session.
“His reluctance led to some scathing remarks from some governors who took exception to certain information in the letter.
“At the end, Nyako had no regrets. He even created a mild sensation when he refused to sit besides a South-East governor. This was what happened. We were not happy, but I think we have successfully thrashed the issue.”