Sunday, 6 October 2019
CAMERON AGAINST ME FOR SIGNING ANTI-GAY LAW' SAYS JONATHAN
A former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, and former President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday traded words on the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, more than four years ago.
While Cameron said the former President was “sleeping on the wheel” while terrorists were busy abducting the schoolgirls, Jonathan said the former prime minister was against him (Jonathan) because he refused to support gay.
Cameron further stated that Jonathan prevented British forces from engaging in rescue efforts as he seemed to see the entire incident as cheap politics.
The former UK leader’s claim comes two years after the Observer newspaper reported that Nigeria shunned international offers to rescue the girls.
In his recently published memoir, ‘For the Record’, Cameron, who was in office at the time of the incident, said British troops traced the location of some of the victims and offered to help but Jonathan refused, The Cable reports.
Cameron wrote, “In early 2014 a group of its fighters centred the government secondary school in the village of Chibok, seizing 276 teenage girls. They were taken to camps deep in the forest. The Christians among them were forced to convert to Islam. Many were sold as slaves, entering the same endless violent nightmare the Yazidi women suffered.
“As ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign spread across the world, we embedded a team of military and intelligence experts in Nigeria, and sent spy planes and tornadoes with thermal imaging to search for the missing girls. And, amazingly, from the skies above a forest three times the size of Wales, we managed to locate some of them.”
Cameron said he expected Jonathan to handle the Chibok issue better
“But Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, seemed to be asleep at the wheel. When he eventually made a statement, it was to accuse the campaigners of politicising the tragedy. And absolutely crucially, when we offered to help rescue the girls we had located, he refused.”
In his response, however, Jonathan described the former UK leader’s claims as a tissue of lies.
He said, “As such, on Monday, January 13, 2014, I signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law after the bill had been passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Nigeria’s parliament, in line with the wishes of the Nigerian people.
“This happened shortly after a study of 39 nations around the world by the US Pew Research Centre came up with a finding which indicated that 98 per cent of Nigerians were opposed to the idea of gay marriage.
“Immediately after I took this patriotic action, my government came under almost unbearable pressure from Mr Cameron, who reached me through envoys, and made subtle and not so subtle threats against me and my government.”
He said meetings were held at the White House and at the Portcullis House in Parliament UK, with the then Nigerian opposition, All Progressives Congress, to disparage him, after he had signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law.
On the allegation of corruption, Jonathan said Transparency International, which is globally acknowledged as the adjudicator of who is corrupt and who is not, stated that Nigeria made great improvements in the fight against corruption
“During my administration, in 2014, Nigeria made her best ever improvement on the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, moving from 144 the previous year, to 136, an eight-point improvement. As a nation, we have not made such improvements on the CPI before or after 2014,” he said.
Jonathan said Cameron’s claim that he refused the help of UK forces was a blatant lie.
The former President said he had written letters to the UK and other foreign powers to assist Nigeria in fighting insecurity.
The ex-President said, “In his book, Mr Cameron failed to mention that I wrote him requesting his help on Chibok. Why did he suppress that information? I remind him that copies of that letter exist at the State Houses in Nigeria and London. He never called me on the phone to offer any help. On the contrary, I am the one that reached out to him.”
Jonathan said as President, he requested help from the United States, UK, France and Israel.
He said it would be illogical of him to ask for help while at the same time reject help.
The former President said, “As President of Nigeria, I not only wrote letters to then Prime Minister David Cameron, I also wrote to the then US President, Barrack Obama, and the then French President, François Hollande, as well as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appealing to them for help in rescuing the Chibok Girls.
“How could I write to appeal for help and then reject the very thing I appealed for?”