Hafsat Abiola-Costello, The Founder of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, has said the silence of President Goodluck Jonathan over the alleged massacre of 2000 people in Baga is a clear sign that his government is incompetent in handling matters of national interest. Abiola-Costello, daughter of the widely acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, noted that it was the same silence by the President that led to the continued captivity of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in April last year.
In an open letter addressed to Jonathan and co-signed by 16 other activists from various countries cutting across Africa, Europe, Asia and America, the KIND founder expressed deep concern about recent situations in Nigeria. She wrote, “What is stunning about the two incidents is that while the world rose to condemn the killings in Paris, the massacre in Baga, the most deadly so far in Boko Haram’s four-year insurgency, has been largely greeted by silence. Most disturbing still for us, is that while Nigeria’s president was able to send a message to France condemning the killings, he has yet to address the Nigerian people who look to him for leadership.
“What can account for the silence of Nigeria’s president? Unfortunately, it would not be the first time. It was 40 days after the abduction of the schoolgirls in Chibok before our President addressed the country about the incident. In the intervening weeks, it seemed that there was a question in the government about whether the abduction had even taken place.” She added that the President showed similar indifference when the Chibok schoolgirls were abducted. Abiola-Costello told Jonathan in the letter, “Connecting the abduction of the Chibok girls to the Baga massacre, one wonders if there could be some question about whether the Baga massacre occurred? Amnesty’s report confirmed that the attack took place and that ‘up to 2000 people may have been killed.’ It seems that the army is contesting the numbers, suggesting that it was 150 people that were killed.“Whether 150 or 2000, it would be important to hear from the government on its efforts to secure the region, to bear witness to the loss of lives in Baga. Instead, there is a deafening silence.
We have seen a clear incompetency in handling matters. In the context of existing ethnic and religious fault lines, silence only communicates the impression that Nigeria’s government does not care about the victims and is not dealing with the insurgency.”