*No news on abducted Chibok girls-Minimah
People of the troubled zone of North-east will exercise their voting rights in the coming elections only when all the structures of government and governance there are reinstated.
This was the outcome of a meeting of the National Security Council presided over on Tuesday by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The meeting, which was held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, lasted several hours.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, briefed the council on the readiness of his commission for the elections.
The INEC boss said: “I believe it (the meeting) went well.”
Jega, however, declined comments on his commission’s plan to use card readers during the elections.
But the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Kenneth Tobiah Minimah, who addressed journalists after the meeting, said the people of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States could only vote when the structures of governance there are reinstated.
On the fate of the over 200 schoolgirls of Chibok, Minimah said there was no news for now.
According to him, “You know Yobe and Adamawa States have been liberated completely and we look forward to the reinstatement of structures of government and governance. I’m also sure you know that in Borno State, out of the 27 local government areas, we have three local governments remaining: Abadam, Kalabaldi and Gwoza. And we are optimistic that with time, we will liberate those local governments”.
On whether the council discussed the forthcoming elections, Minimah said only the INEC was competent to talk about the elections, adding that the commission had to reassess and evaluate the situation in the three troubled states.
Minimah, who said the military had liberated areas captured by the Boko Haram sect, said: “I’m not competent to speak on that matter (elections). The INEC is still there. INEC has to reassess the situation and evaluate because the areas have been liberated, but I can also tell you that not all structures of governance have been reinstated and they will need to be reinstated so that citizens can go back to their areas, and it is then I think they can execute their rights as voters”.
Asked how soon those structures would be reinstated, the Chief of Army Staff said: “I don’t know”.
On the abducted Chibok girls, Minimah said: “No news for now. In all the liberated areas we have, we have also made enquiries, but the truth is when the terrorists are running away, they also run with their families, and those we have come in contact with have not made any comments suggesting that Chibok girls were there and taken away. But we are optimistic that as it becomes closer, the territory is becoming elusive to them. We will get further details on that”.