The directive contained in a statement by the presidential spokesperson, Dr. Reuben Abati, followed worldwide condemnation, with the United States of America’s influential newspaper, Washington Post, describing the use of the slogan as “galling.”
Like many Nigerians, the Washington Post in its editorial, noted that the #BringBackJonathan sign was parodying the #BrinBackOurGirls – the social media campaign used to nudge the world to the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, by the Boko Haram terrorist group in April.
The critics, including the Washington Post, queried the basis for parodying the the rescue campaign slogan when Jonathan’s administration had failed to rescue the girls from captivity.
But Abati, in his statement, said the signs were being used without President Jonathan’s knowledge or approval.
He said the President had therefore ordered that the “offensive and repugnant” signs and campaign banners bearing the slogan be immediately brought down.
The statement read, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has directed that the #BringBackJonathan 2015 signs and banners around Abuja which he and many Nigerians find offensive and repugnant be brought down immediately.
“President Jonathan wholly shares the widely expressed view that the signs which were put up without his knowledge or approval are a highly insensitive parody of the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag.
“While President Jonathan appreciates the enthusiastic show of support for his administration by a broad range of stakeholders, he condemns the #BringBackJonathan2015 signs which appear to make light of the very serious national and global concern for the abducted Chibok girls.
“The President assures all Nigerians and the international community that his administration remains fully engaged with efforts to rescue the abducted girls and that he will not knowingly promote any actions that will fly in the face of the seriousness of their plight and the anguish of their families.”