Civil Rights activist, Shehu Sani, on Wednesday said that he led a delegation of some families of suspected Boko Haram members to a meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to find ways of securing the release of the abducted schoolgirls.
Sani, who was speaking in response to the reports on the Abeokuta meeting with the former president and some family members of the Boko Haram group, confirmed that the meeting “actually took place and I was part of it”.
Sani said, in a statement made available to journalists, that the meeting which took place at the Abeokuta residence of the former President was aimed at opening a new channel of dialogue with leaders of the sect and secure the release of the missing girls.
He expressed the hope that the meeting will lead to a genuine dialogue between the abductors and the federal government on how to secure the girls’ release.
He said, “My statement is in response to the reports and the enquiries on the Abeokuta meeting with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some family members of the Boko Haram group. The renewed effort to dialogue with the leaders of Boko Haram is being pursued with vigour.
“This is to confirm that the meeting actually took place and I was part of it. The meeting was solely aimed at exploring the possibility of opening a new channel for dialogue or negotiation with the sect members towards securing the release of the abducted Chibok girls held in captivity for over a month.”
He noted that the meeting between the former President and families of Boko Haram members appraised the reportedly collapsed back door deal that was later cancelled by the Government.
“I wish to also confirm that the report of the intervention of Mr. Salkida in negotiating the release of the Chibok girls is credible.
“I personally introduced Salkida to the government and spoke about him in many of my previous interviews. He has tried his best in the past and of recent to help in resolving the insurgency through dialogue but was on all occasions frustrated by the government.
“Mr. Salkida should not be vilified but should be appreciated. Mr. Salkida’s attempt could have actually see to the release of the abducted girls. The meeting in Abeokuta was aimed at repackaging and salvaging the dialogue option. It was generally agreed that the initiative cannot take off without the consent of the Federal Government. It’s significant for Nigerians to note that negotiation is the only safer option to get the girls back home,” Sani stated.