Chibok Girls Release: Abubakar Highlights Role Of Dialogue In Crisis Situation
The former leader’s statement is coming a day after 21 of the over 200 girls abducted from Chibok community in Borno State in northeast Nigeria were released amidst dialogue between the government and the Boko Haram terrorist group.
He commended the government’s effort to secure the release of the girls that have been in the custody of the terrorists since April 14, 2014.
General Abubakar was speaking on Friday in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State in south-west Nigeria after a courtesy call by him and his wife, Justice Fati Abubakar, on the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo.
“The release of the girls is a testimony to the need for dialogue in crisis situation, even in the Niger Delta where militants have continued to attack critical infrastructure in the region,” the former leader stressed.
He further acknowledged God’s intervention in the release of the girls.
“We give glory to God for saving those children and we congratulate everyone who is involved in bringing these girls back.
“We pray that the rest will come back.
“I congratulate the parents who have been organised for the one year plus or so.
“We pray that never will such occurrence happen in our lives,” Mr Abubakar said.
‘A Show Of Faith’
After the release of the girls was announced, many feared it must have been secured through a prisoner swap.
The Boko Haram terrorists had in a video of the girls released few months ago, requested for a swap with some of the group members held at different detention centres in Nigeria.
A government official, however, said that the girls were not released in swap deal.
The spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, described the release of 21 the Chibok girls as ‘a show of faith’ on the part of the insurgents.
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.
Announcing the release of the girls on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, 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.
President Buhari has also promised to keep pressing for the release of other girls in Boko Haram’s captivity.