Nigeria’s Presidency has described the release of 21 out of the over 200 Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists as ‘a show of faith’ on the part of the insurgents.
Mr Femi Adesina, who is a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, clears the air on the release which had triggered rumours that it was a swap deal between the Nigerian government and the terrorist group.
He told Channels Television on Friday that the development was a confidence building step that would lead to bigger things.
“I have heard and read so much about what we gave and what we didn’t give.
“This is just a confidence building step that will lead to bigger things.
“In the past, there have been many of such meetings that would have led to releases but along the line, discussions broke down.
“Maybe they (the terrorists) trust the (new) process and they believe that they do this as a show of their trust and faith and believe.
“For now, what we have been told is that there was no swap and the girls were released just as a show of faith, a confidence building measure and I think it is good enough for us to believe,” he said.
“Many More Releases”
Mr Adesina asserted that there would be more releases, describing the freedom of the 21 girls as a giant leap for humanity.
“As we have been told, this is just one step which I will also call a giant leap for humanity.
“You can be sure that there will be many more releases and as many of the girls that are alive would definitely return to their parents,” he said.
End Of Insurgency
The President’s spokesman says the government is winning the war against the dreaded insurgents, stressing that they have been largely degraded.
“They used to attack army formations, police formations, schools (and) different types of target but they don’t do that anymore because their capacity to do that has been largely degraded.
“I think a lot of progress has been made (and) we can simply say we are at the end of this insurgency and this is just the mopping up process,” said Adesina on Sunrise Daily.
At least 200 girls were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists from their hostels at the Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State on April 14, 2014.
In the heat of the over six-year insurgency, Borno State, in northeast Nigeria became a strong hold of the dreaded insurgents.
Since the abduction of the girls, pressure has been mounted on the Federal Government to rescue them, including demands for a swap with members of Boko Haram in detention.
After much push for the girls’ release, 21 of them were freed on Thursday.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, confirmed the release of the 21 girls.
He stated categorically that the release was not a swap, but was achieved through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.
In their reaction, the #BringBackBackOurGirls Campaign Group welcomed news of the release of the Chibok girls while praising the military for the efforts so far.
The group said in a statement that the “wonderful development” confirmed what was known about the effort of the government to rescue the Chibok girls.
They added that while they await further details, they salute the work of Nigeria’s security services at the front lines and the tireless efforts of members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and the Civilian JTF.