Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Abducted Chibok Girls: President Buhari Confirms Nigerian Govt Is Negotiating With Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari hinted yesterday that the federal government was currently negotiating with Boko Haram to secure the release of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State, last year.

On its part, the sect has given conditions for the release of the girls, among which is the demand for the release of one of its members who has been strategic in developing Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs).
Buhari, however, declared that his government would not accept such a condition.

The president disclosed this in response to questions from members of the Nigerian community in France under the auspices of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO).

He expressed his administration’s anxiety at the fact that the girls were still under captivity in the nest of the insurgents and said it was making concerted effort to secure their freedom.

He stated, however, that in perfecting the negotiation, government must first establish those who are genuine members of the sect in order not to make the mistake of engaging the wrong persons.

Buhari, who is on a three-day official visit to that country, asserted that government could no longer fold its arms to watch the unfortunate incident which had attracted global attention and sympathy both within and outside Nigeria.

He said, “The issue of Chibok girls has occupied our minds and because of the international attention it drew and the sympathy throughout the country and the world. The government is negotiating with some of the Boko Haram leadership.

“It is a very sensitive development in the sense that, first, we have to establish whether they are genuine leaders of Boko Haram. Number two: what are their terms? The first impression we had was not very encouraging.”

The president said one of the conditions given by the terror group was the release one of its members who has been strategic in developing explosives, a demand, he said, government will not accept.

“They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making the IEDs that are causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing up people in churches, mosques, markets, motor parks and other places,” Buhari said.

“But it is very important that if we are going to talk to anybody, we have to know how much he is worth. Let them bring all the girls and then we will be prepared to negotiate. I will allow them to come back to Nigeria or to be absorbed in the community.

“We have to be very careful about the concern we have for the Chibok girls. One can only imagine if they got a daughter there between 14 and 18 (years) and for more than one and a half years. A lot of the parents who have died would rather see the graves of their daughters, rather than the condition they imagine they are in.”

Explaining why the negotiation had become necessary, Buhari said, “This has drawn a lot of sympathy throughout the world. That is why this government is getting very hard in negotiating and getting the balance of those who are alive.”

He assured the NIDO members that his administration was doing everything possible to improve the state of the economy by providing infrastructure in critical sectors.

LEADERSHIP recalls that in July this year, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had stated that government was ready to engage the sect if they were genuinely willing to surrender.

Lamenting the insurgents’ bloody campaign and devastation of villages, Adesina had noted that the federal government was not ruling out negotiation with the terror group if it would stop terror attacks in the country.

Leadership Newspaper

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