Chibok Community Celebrates Homecoming For 21 Rescued Girls

Chibok Community Celebrates Homecoming For 21 Rescued GirlsNormalcy is beginning to return to Chibok, the Borno town as the 21 released girls returned back home after over two years of being in Boko Haram captivity.

The Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima, visited the town to spend time with the rescued girls and supervise the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure in the community.

The rescued girls were brought to Chibok to spend the Christmas holiday for the first time since their abduction.

Their return brought excitement and hope to people of the community although only very close family members were allowed access to the girls, as heavily armed security operatives prevented passage to the home where they are being kept.

Speaking to Channels Television, grandmother to one of the rescued girls, Kyallu Ibrahim, expressed excitement over the return of her daughter.

“I never thought I’ll ever see my grandchild again, I thought she was dead. It was a nightmare when they took them away but we are glad she is finally back we are grateful to God and the government for bringing them back and we pray for the other girls that are yet to return.”

Families whose daughters are yet to return have mixed feelings even as those rescued are celebrating, they can only hope for their own wards would one day return.

Speaking on the insecurity in the region, a women group leader, Comfort Dunama, explained that every family in Chibok has either lost a child or relative in the April 2014 abduction of the girls.

This according to her, has made nearly 800 locals to become volunteer vigilantes which has paid off in securing the community according to local leaders.

Commander Chibok Vigilante Group, Apogu Gaji, said: “After the kidnap of the girls more people came to join us.

“In the past, we were not more than 50 but today we have up to 500 volunteers. We have engaged Boko Haram in battles, arrested some, killed some and we submit the arms we recover to the army.

“We also suffered casualties but we dealt with them thoroughly and as of now there is no Boko Haram camp around our villages neither do they use any route with their motorcycles. We don’t see them again and everyone feels safe these days,” Gaji stated.

Shettima, while promising to rebuild damaged infrastructure, stated that nothing is too much to do for the girls and their families, who have suffered a lot already.

Consoling parents whose daughters are yet to be rescued, he said all hands are on deck to ensure the return of all the girls.

He then went on to demand explanation over the 500 million Naira approved under the safe school initiative project, for the remodelling of the Chibok school.

“They have released 500 million Naira, I have not seen what they did in Government Secondary School Chibok. We shall go to the federal government, and the safe school initiative and the federal Ministry of Finance and demand what they did with the money.

“People should stop buying and selling with the name of Chibok, it is very unfortunate.

We shall also revoke the contract for the Damboa/ Chibok road and in the coming year, we are directing the Borno Road Maintenance Agency with the sum of 500 million naira to fix the road,” the governor stressed.

Security Consultant Insists Chibok Girls’ Release Was An ‘Exchange’ Deal

sunday-adobaSecurity consultant, Sunday Adoba, has expressed belief that the Nigerian government made an exchange deal with members of the Boko Haram group for the release of the 21 Chibok girls.

The Federal government has insisted that there was no exchange agreement reached prior to the girls’ release but the statement has been greeted with varying opinions from Nigerians.

Mr Adoba holds the belief that the government “works in a mysterious way” and explained why he had this belief.

He said that it was a surprise to him that “there were other rescue operations ongoing somewhere else while the Chibok girls were released at another angle, within that same period”.

“I don’t think the entire actors within the operational area were carried along,” he said, and this, to him, shows that there was a special arrangement involved.

He insisted that the known face of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau had gone broke and would not miss the chance of using the Chibok girls’ release to raise funds.

‘Money Has Changed Hands’

Mr Adoba opined that since there has been no record of prisoners released, then the exchange would have involved cash.

He further questioned: “Can any right thinking man sit down and say the Chibok girls were released by Shekau of all people, without a price?”

“There was a conflict between Shekau and Mahmoud Mamman, which was as a result of money.

“Shekau had given him money to go and procure equipment and they took off. So definitely he is in need of hard currency.

“Money has definitely changed hands because nobody was returned to the Boko Haram group,” he insisted.

‘Hope For Others’

He, however, stated that the most important thing was the successful release of the girls, which he believes the government has made significant progress with.

“For me the girls are out, no matter what procedure was carried out to get them, all I am interested in is that we have saved lives.

“For the girls to come out of the bondage, it means at least there is hope for others. And I believe with the efforts of the government, more of them will be rescued,” he stated.

On April 14, 2014, over 270 school girls were abducted from their hostel, in Chibok town, Maiduguri borno state.

While some of them have managed to escape, and the additional 21 were recently released on October 14, 2016, a larger number still remain in the terrorists’ captivity.

The insurgence brought Boko Haram into international spotlight, with many using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to raise awareness for the campaign to find the abductees.

Convener of the movement, Oby Ezekwesili, however praised the military for its efforts so far, while also promising to join efforts with government to help in the quick recuperation and rehabilitation of the girls.

21 Chibok Girls Release: Negotiating Team Member Gives Insight To Process

sen-shehuA member of the negotiating process that secured the release of 21 Chibok girls last week said the feat was an outcome of a process that started two years ago.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, told Channels Television on Tuesday that negotiations between the insurgents and Federal Government yielded result, with the help of the Swiss Government and other teams.

He also suggested that negotiation should be sustained, to secure the release of the remaining girls .

Over 200 girls were taken from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014.

Issue Of Ransom

The Senator commended the security agencies for sustaining the pressure on the insurgents in their camps, adding that the negotiation and pressure had happened over a period of two years.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s programme, Senator Sani revealed that a swap of detained insurgents with the detained girls was suggested in the course of negotiation.

He said the suggestion was not accepted, as there was no swap made, as clearly stated by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

Senator Sani stated that the remaining girls were not in different camps but in the same faction which the Federal Government had been negotiating with.

The Senator being a part of the team that secured the girls release, declined giving further information on if any ransom was paid but stated that the government was on the right path on securing the remaining girls.

He further stated that the issue of ransom should be kept, so as not to undermine the process. Instead, he called for support for those involved in the current negotiation to ensure it would succeed.

Senator Sani, however, said that he was involved in the last negotiation process but was not in the current negotiation, stressing that initial negotiations had set the pace for the ongoing negotiation.

He urged the Federal Government to sustain the ongoing negotiations with the insurgents, as it is the only guaranteed way of securing the safe release of the remaining girls.

So far, less than 40 of the girls have been rescued.

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has promised to ensure that the remaining girls were released and rehabilitated.

Buhari Returns From Three-Day Official Trip To Germany

Buhari, GermanyPresident Muhammadu Buhari is back in Nigeria after a three-day official visit to Germany, where he met with Nigerians in diaspora, in Berlin the German capital.

Buhari who praised representatives of the Nigerian community, said that his administration is greatly encouraged by their uncommon support in the fight against corruption, as well as initiatives aimed at stimulating the economy.

Earlier on the trip, the President had met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck.

While addressing the German-Nigeria Business Forum, President Buhari called on German businessmen to explore different sectors of Nigeria’s economy that are yet to open up.

He also hinted about the new bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, which would soon begin operations in order to strengthen the government’s economic diversification programme

The visit ended on a compassionate note on Saturday, as the President, with his convoy went to visit a Nigerian military officer who survived a ghastly road accident and is currently receiving treatment in a Berlin hospital.

He was accompanied on the trip by the Governor of Borno, Kashim Shetima, and Rochas Okorocha of Imo state.

Aisha Buhari On Presidency

While President Buhari was away on his official trip, his wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari Buhari, three-day trip, Germany, Aisha Buhari, raised concerns over the president’s appointees.

In an interview with BBC she warned her husband that she will not back him at the next election unless he considers rejigging the make-up of his appointees.

Meanwhile, Mr Buhari in reaction to this laughed off the comments saying “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room, and the other room”.

The matter has since elicited various opinions from people who believe it was an honest expression from Mrs Buhari, meant to galvanise President Buhari into retracing his steps, while others shocked that such remarks are coming from her.

Good News

Also while the President was away, the nation on Thursday, received good news of the release of 21, out of the abducted Chibok School girls.

Buhari, three-day trip, Germany, Aisha Buhari, 21 Chibok girls

It had been rumoured that a swap deal actually ensued between the government and the Boko Haram Terrorist group before the girls were released, however, the federal government maintained that there was no such thing.

Although the nation still celebrates the return of the girls, President Buhari re-iterated that his government would sustain efforts to free the remaining girls kidnapped by the terrorist group

Chibok Girls: Presidency Labels Release ‘A Show Of Faith’

Chibok Girls, Boko Haram, PresidencyNigeria’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.

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Some of the rescued Chibok girls

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.

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Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, confirmed the release of 21 Chibok 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.

Chibok Girls’ Release Not A Swap Deal – FG

Boko Haram, Swap Deal, Chibok GirlsThe Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has confirmed the release of 21 girls out of the over 200 school girls abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok in April 2014.

The Minister, at a press conference in Abuja stated that the Federal Government secured the release of girls through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned international humanitarian organisation.

The Minister also debunked the reports that four Boko Haram members were released in exchange for the girls’ release.

He said that the release secured by the government was based on confidence and not a swap arrangement with the terrorists group.

“This is not a swap. This was a release which was effected because over time, we succeeded in confidence building.

“This particular release is significant because it’s just a first step in what we believe will lead to the eventual release of all our girls in custody. It is significant also because we have been able to establish more than ever before a confidence in both the leadership of Boko Haram and Nigerians.

“I am not aware of any monetary transaction,” he said.

The names of the girls has been release by the Office of the Vice President, after his visit to the girls at the SSS hospital in Abuja.

Carrot and Stick

The Minister also clarified if the military action against the Boko Haram would seize owing to the release of the girls.

“When you are fighting insurgency, it’s a combination of carrot and stick.‎ The release of these girls does not mean the end to military operations. But it could mean a new phase in the conduct of the war against terror,” he said.

Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Thursday, confirmed the release of the 21 Chibok girls.

He said that the release of the girls, in a limited number, was the outcome of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the Boko Haram, brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

The Federal Government had since the abduction of the over 200 school girls in 2014 tried several options to secure their release, including the use of military force and negotiations with the Boko Haram group.

President Buhari had in August agreed to the idea of swapping Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls.

However, that was on the condition that the group should be able to list those they wanted released and then come out to discuss with the Federal Government.

 

21 Chibok Girls Released From Boko Haram Clutches

chibok girls, boko haramThe Spokesman for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, has confirmed that 21 out of the Chibok girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram militants, have been released.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, (the President’s Spokesman), the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, has already briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the development.

He said that the release of the girls, in a limited number, is the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram, brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

Chibok girls,
Boko Haram Leader carrying out a mock interview with one of the girls in a third video

The statement added that the President welcomes the release of the girls but cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that more than 30,000 fellow citizens were killed via terrorism.

The DSS DG told the President that he wanted the girls to have some rest, as all of them have returned very tired as a result of the rescue process, before he hands them over to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Sources close to the Borno state government told Channels Television that some girls were brought to the Air Force Hospital in Maiduguri.

The girls are said to be undergoing screening to determine their state of health as well as their profile.

Incident Occurred 

On April 14, 2014, over 200 girls were abducted from their hostels at Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state.

In the heat of the over six-year insurgency, Borno State, in northeast Nigeria became a strong hold of the Boko Haram.

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.

UNGA

Although it is yet to be confirmed if an actual swap took place, the news is coming shortly after President Buhari agreed to the idea of swapping Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls in August.

However, that was on the condition that the group should be able to list those they wanted released and then come out to discuss with the Federal Government.

At the recently concluded 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to rescuing the girls.

In his address, he stated that “one of our major aims is to rescue the Chibok girls alive and unharmed”.

The girls’ abduction had raised a world-wide condemnation including the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon and U.S First Lady Michelle Obama, culminating in the formation of the group, #BringBackOurGirls, that have been at the forefront of pushing for the release of the girls.

Amina_State_HouseOne of the abducted girls, Aminat Ali Nkeki was rescued in May 2016 during a raid on Sambisa forest by the military.

 

 

Proof of Life

Also in August, the terrorist group Boko Haram released a ‘proof of life’ video of the girls.

This was the third in a series of videos released by the group.

The Video showed a gun-toting insurgent, carrying out a mock interview with one of the girls, who is being prompted to ask the government to release imprisoned Boko Haram fighters in return for the girls’ freedom.

Another scene in the video also showed bodies on the ground, which in attempts to spur government reaction, the group claimed were bodies of girls killed by military airstrikes.

The military in reaction to this, countered the claims of the group that about 40 of the girls had been killed in airstrikes during a bombardment by the Air-Force.

Commander of the counter-insurgency war, Major General Lucky Irabor said “It’s only a matter of common sense that those dead bodies shown on the ground there do not even give indication as to the claim which Boko Haram gave,”

The military then warned the outlawed Boko Haram group that they would be punished for killing the girl.