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.

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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.

 

‘Redouble Efforts To End Terrorism’, National Council Of State Tells Security Agencies

Jonathan and Obasanjo.The National Council of State in Nigeria has asked security agents to ‘add more venom’ to the fight against terrorism, stressing the need to end the attacks by the Boko Haram terrorist group on villages and towns in the north-east.

The call was made by the National Council of State members on Tuesday after they were briefed of the security efforts of the agencies to end the over five years terrorism that has claimed thousands of lives in the north-east.

The Council of State meeting was held at the Presidential Villa and it was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

In attendance were four former Heads of State – Generel Yakubu Gowon, Mr Shehu Shagari, Mr Ernest  Shonekan and Mr Olusegun Obasanjo.

After a briefing by the National Security Adviser, the Council of State members observed that the government was doing everything possible to ensure that the schoolgirls abducted from their school’s dormitory by members of the Boko Haram sect in April were released safe and sound.

The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to securing the release of the girls.

It stressed the need for the security agents to add more venom to the fight against the Boko Haram sect that had continued to attack villages and towns in the north-east days after the Nigerian government said it had reached a ceasefire agreement with the Islamic sect.

Less than 24 hours after the ceasefire agreement was announced, the terrorist group attacked two towns in Borno. The leader of the group in a video released on Friday denied any ceasefire agreement, emphasising that the girls abducted from the school had been married off.  

The National Council of State is the highest policy making body in Nigeria and all past leaders are expected to attend the council meeting.

At the last count at the meeting venue, only four of them were in attendance.

The meeting was also briefed on Nigeria’s Ebola-free status by Governor Akpabio.

The council also reviewed the report by a committee set up to investigate reports of discriminations against persons that were infected but now free of the virus across the states and mandated the committee to beef up the recommendations of sanctions against anyone that is working against the unity of the country in any guise.

Displaced Persons Advocate Disarmament To Consolidate Ceasefire Agreement

Boko Haram.The internally displaced persons in Nigeria’s volatile north-east have asked the government to begin the process of disarmament after peace negotiations have yielded the desired result.

Expressing fears that the ceasefire agreement was not yielding expected results, they said that the disarmament would ensure a lasting peace in the region that had witnessed series of attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect in the last five years.

Renewed Attacks

Some of the displaced persons who spoke to Channels Television in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, said that they had received the news of the ongoing negotiation between the government and the insurgents with cautious optimism.

Their caution is as a result of continued attacks on towns in Borno State after the ceasefire agreement was announced on Friday.

In view of the renewed attacks on villages in the three north-eastern state, some Borno Elders had expressed doubts that the ceasefire agreement was reached with the genuine leadership of the Boko Haram sect.

Some see the deal as a breath of fresh air while some are sceptical of the truce.

The Secretary of the Borno Elders Forum, Bulama Mali Gubio, said their scepticism was hinged on the non-inclusion of the relevant players from the region in the negotiation process and the fact that the announcement of the ceasefire was made by the Federal Government alone.

While hoping the ceasefire agreement will achieve the desired objectives, the elders of the area believe that the Federal Government needs to assist those displaced by the insurgency and ensure that villages and towns earlier captured by the sect are recovered.

They called on the government to make the towns habitable and safe for the people to go back to their normal lives

Military Dismisses Claims Of Chibok Girls’ Release

Chibok Girls NAThe Nigerian military has dismissed claims and online publications of the release of the Chibok girls, saying they are untrue.

Spokesman for the military, Major General Chris Olukolade, on Tuesday dismissed the rumours on his twitter handle. He stressed that such issue would not have been shrouded in secrecy if it were true.

The false story was disseminated after buses were seen driving into a barrack with persons suspected to be the girls kidnapped by members of the Boko Haram sect in April.

But on his twitter, Mr Olukolade said: “Buses drove into the barracks but conveyed other individuals.

“We have a way of doing things. Official online channels for real time announcements and traditional protocols of issuing messages. Forget it.

“NO statement was ever made claiming the girls have been released.

“My response to an enquiry by BBC on whether or not they (the Girls) have been released was met with – Give me sometime to Get Back. I confirmed and found that the girls in the Buses were not newly released Chibok Girls”.

The military spokesman further said that the two buses that drove into the barrack with escorts and nothing else.

According to him, the BBC and two online media enquiries had already published that he confirmed the release, a development he stressed was untrue.

“The whole story NEVER emanated from me as claimed,” the tweet further read.

Over 200 girls were abducted by members of the Boko Haram sect on April 15 and several protests have been staged since their abduction, with a “Bring Back Our Girls” demand. it was aimed at getting the government and the military to do more in the rescue operation that the military had embarked on since the girls were taken.

Omeri Says Security Agencies Close To Rescuing Chibok Girls

Mike-Omeri2The coordinator of the National Information Centre in Nigeria, Mr Mike Omeri, says security agencies are getting close to rescuing the over 200 school girls abducted from Chibok, Borno State in April.

While briefing the press in Abuja on Monday on the security personnel’s rescue efforts, Mr Omeri said that security intelligence efforts had led to several arrests which would assist the security agencies in the rescue operation and in the fight against insurgency.

He, however, cautioned landlords across the nation to track the identities of their tenants, warning that some members of the Boko Haram sect could be moving from the northeast to other parts.

Several individuals were arrested last week, suspected to have aided the abduction of the girls from the dormitory of their secondary school in Chibok on April 14.

The girls’ abduction by a terrorist group, Boko Haram, had sparked protests in Nigeria and in other countries with calls on the government to expedite action in rescuing the girls.

For over 50 days, a group campaigning for the rescue of the girls has continued to protest, insisting that the campaign will continue daily at the Unity Fountain in Abuja until the girls are rescued.

The US, France, Canada and some other countries are rendering help to the Nigerian government to ensure that the girls are rescued.

In May, a military chief said that the locations of the girls had been identified but that the military was applying caution to ensure that there would not be casualties.

Jonathan Receives Report On Abducted Chibok Girls

jonathan-goodluck-Nigeria-PresidentA report by the Presidential Fact Finding Committee on the Abduction of Chibok School Girls submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan says 219 girls are still held by the members of the Boko Haram terrorist group that abducted the girls on April 14 from their school dormitory.

The report of the committee led by Brigadier-General Ibrahim Sabo laid to rest any doubt whether or not the girls were abducted, one of the reasons for setting up the committee.

According to the report presented to the Nigerian president on Friday, a total of 276 students were abducted, while 57 have been reunited with their families after escaping from the terrorists.

The committee recommended that the report be treated with utmost confidentiality and warned that little will be achieved through finger pointing or blame game.

The committee was set up on May 6 following controversies as to whether or not the girls were missing.

They were mandated by the President to establish why the school was open, liaise with the parents to know the number of girls missing how many returned and mobilise citizens’ support for rescue strategy, and advise government on other issues.

They worked for five weeks with support from all except one senator and Brigadier-General Sabo stressed the need for all Nigerians to support military effort to rescue the girls

Receiving the report, President Jonathan expressed sadness that the girls were still in the hands of the terrorists three months after and pledged to do all in his powers to ensure their release and an end to Boko Haram insurgency.

“None of us can afford good sleep until those girls are returned,” he said, expressing optimism that the girls would be rescued.

President Jonathan praised the patriotic zeal of the committee and security personnel, the risk taken to compile the report, the commitment of all Nigerians on the issues and the efforts of the international community.

“No information provided by the committee will be left unused until terror is crushed in Nigeria. The government is not limiting its effort on security operations alone but is stepping up efforts to improve the welfare of citizens of Nigeria too,” he said.

The President, however, stressed that the incident in Chibok could have been avoided.

The Federal Government promised to rebuild the Chibok Girls Secondary School, introduce a victims’ support fund that will take care of the displaced parents and children who have been made orphan following terror attacks in the north east.

Sexual Violence: The Case Of The Abducted Chibok Girls

Chibok girls videoIt has been more than three weeks now, since international experts came into Nigeria, to help look for the abducted Chibok girls.

While the Nigerian military has been updating the public on progress and challenges, Nigerians are becoming a bit impatient to hear from the international experts themselves.

They have said nothing, whether confirming, nor denying whatever our military has said recently about the missing Chibok girls.

And so the protests have continued, although experienced some hitch along the way, over the ban on protests in the Federal Capital Territory. Fortunately, the Nigerian police have cleared that up and the protests continue, until the girls are brought back home.

It is really important that we save the day on this one, because, there are reports the girls are being raped several times a day, sometimes by more than a few men of the Boko Haram.

We are not in a state of war, and yet, women are the target of sexual crimes.

More than 1,200 delegates from around the world, including civil society groups and government officials, met in London, in a summit to discuss how sexual violence in conflict could be addressed and brought to an end.

The British government is solidly behind organisation of the summit, alongside the United Nations.

There is sexual violence going on in Nigeria but there is no clear statistic, largely because a lot of them go unreported. It is going on more in states threatened by Boko Haram.

Eleanor Nwadinobi of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, managed by the British Council says abductions have been going on even before the Chibok girls’ case.

But there is the danger that all of this attention has been given to efforts at finding the Chibok girls, but not much is done about the other abductions going on as well.

Chibok Girls’ Parents Say They Are In Extreme Pains

Chibok-girlsThe search for the Chibok school girls is still on, but some of the parents are lamenting the ‘extreme pains’ they go through as their children are still missing

In an interview with Channels Television in Lagos on Monday, some of the parents expressed their grief, as some of the victims of the abduction are getting help from a Nigerian and foreign group

The group based on their research claims the Boko Haram insurgency is not a religious problem.

It is over seven weeks since the over 200 girls were abducted from their dormitory in the Government Girls Secondary Schools in Chibok, but the search of the girls is still on.

More than 20 of the parents of the girls alongside some of the girls who escaped from their abductors were in Lagos to narrate the pains they go through to the press.

They have continued to wait for the return of their children abducted on April 14 and have also remained hopeful that the girls would come back.

One of the parents said she missed her 16 year old girl and expressed optimism that she would see her again.

“We miss her very much but I pray that God almighty will open heaven and send down his glory upon them. I have that hope that I will see her one day by the grace of God. Each time I see her, she comforts me. I feel like killing myself or disappearing from this world,” she said in tears.

A foreign non-governmental organisation, Omoluabi network, is working to help the victims of the abduction. According to them, they have carried out a research on the group and had found out that the Boko Haram insurgency was not a religious issue.

“The group disguises itself for now. They try to use the cover of Islam. What it does is that initially it targets Christians but it reveals its true nature when you see it begin to target Muslims who get in their way and that helps you to know straight away that it is not about religion. Nigerians have to learn this,” Ladi Thompson of Omolaubi network said.

Some of those present are equally hopeful the they girls would be rescued soon.

The military involved in rescue operation last week said it had information about the location of the girls and promised that they would be rescued soon.

Group Takes ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Protest To The Street

Chibok-girls-#BringBackOurGirlsDriven from the Unity Fountain by an opposing group and then locked out of the Maitama Amusement Park, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ protest group have resorted to sitting on mats and standing by the roadside to continue the protest, still demanding for the release of the abducted girls.

It has been 48 days after the Chibok girls’ abduction and 33 days since the protest started but the group is not saving their breath.

The emotion with which they speak is not a thing one would miss as they attempt to stay strong in their weary situation.

With the news that the ‘Bring Back Our Girls Protest’ is waxing on stronger in major cities such as Kano, an activist, Aisah Yesufu, preached civility as they only mantra they would follow.

For 33 days now the protest has been on and they say though weary, they are full of hope that the girls will be rescued before the week runs out.

They prayed and stood firm on the conviction that they have taken the right stand which will yield results soon enough.

The girls were abducted on April 14 from their dormitory at the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram.

The group say it will release the girls if the government would accept a prisoner swap deal.

Several members of the terrorist group that has attacked villages in Nigeria’s north east are held in different detention camps but the government had not considered the request made over two weeks ago.

A military chief last week said the military, making efforts to rescue the girls, was already aware of the girls’ location and would rescue them soon.

 

 

Chibok Girls: Ezekwesili Says New Group Paid To Disrupt Protest

Oby-Ezekwesili3A new group calling on the Boko Haram sect to release the girls besieged the Unity Fountain in Abuja on Wednesday to protest the abduction of the over 200 girls abducted by members for the sect on April 14.

The new group, made up of market women and young men, arrived at the venue on Wednesday shouting; “Boko Haram, release our girls”, a different slogan from the usual “Bring Back Our Girls”.

But one of the conveners of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign that had been protesting for over 27 days now, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, said that they were at the venue to disrupt the activities of her group.

She said that the new group members came in a bus and had turned the Unity Fountain into a joke.

“Some of them said they were paid to come and disrupt our meeting and that is a shame. This is what our own government has decided to do in response to the abduction of the girls. Isn’t that a shame.

“Yesterday they did everything to provoke our meeting but we will not be provoked. We will continue to stand in solidarity with the Chibok girls and call for their release. The constitution requires that the President as the Commander in Chief should be the one leading the security efforts to bring back our girls. The fastest way to end the Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign is to Bring Back Our Girls.

“Most of the Chibok girls abducted are from poor families. We stand here for the weak and the vulnerable. If you look among the women you will see the weak and the vulnerable bought to disrupt our protest. This is so debasing.

“What if their children were among the abducted will they do the same thing? She asked.

The Nigerian government had told the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners to direct their protest to the Boko Haram group the lat time they were at the Presidential Villa to demand for more drastic actions from the government in order to rescue the girls.