Stick To Your Advocacy Role, FG Tells BBOG

Stick To Your Advocacy Role, FG Tells BBOGThe Federal Government has urged the Bring Back Our Girls Group to see it as a partner rather than an adversary in the group’s quest to secure the release of the Chibok girls.

In a statement in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that the BBOG’s continued portrayal of the government as an adversary and the needless firing of darts at the President, who is doing his utmost best to bring the girls back home safely, are ultimately counter-productive.

“The Federal Government has bent over backwards to carry the BBOG along and to show transparency in the conduct of the search for the girls.

“The recent invitation extended to the group to witness first-hand the search for the girls by the Nigerian Air Force is a clear indication of this.

“However, it came to us as a surprise that in spite of its initial positive report on the tour, the BBOG has too quickly reverted to its adversarial role.

“BBOG should stick to its role as an advocacy group rather than pretending to be an opposition party.

“The synonyms of the word ‘advocacy’ do not include ‘antagonism’, ‘opposition’ or ‘attack’. In fact, those words are the antonyms of ‘advocacy’,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said it amounts to needless grandstanding for the BBOG to say it will no longer tolerate ”delays” and ”excuses” from the President on the release of the girls, as reported by the media, noting that such impudent language should have been reserved for those who did nothing in the first 500 days of the girls’ abduction, not for a President who has presided over the liberation of all captured territory, the opening of shuts schools and roads, the safe release of some of the abducted girls and the decimation of Boko Haram.

He assured Nigerians that the efforts to bring the girls back safely are continuing, but sought their understanding for not divulging any further details so as not to jeopardize the intricate process.

“Let me say unequivocally that the people involved in the negotiations are working 24/7. The negotiations are complicated, tortuous and delicate. Any wrong signal is capable of derailing things. That’s why the less we say about the talks the better it is for all.

“We need a huge amount of confidence-building, the kind of which led to the release of the 21 of the girls.

“This has been lacking for years, but right now we are confident that we are on the right track. We won’t do anything to jeopardize these talks, irrespective of the pressure or provocation from any quarter,” the Minister said.

Nigeria Says Negotiations Ongoing To Release More Chibok Girls

Boko Haram, Chibok Girls, Lai MohammedThe Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, says negotiations are ongoing for the release of the Chibok girls and other abductees with the Boko Haram terrorists.

The minister also expressed optimism that the dialogues would yield the desired results in due course.

His remarks were in response to comments made by the Bring Back Our Girls group after a tour of the northeast operations.

BBOG Arrives Northeast On Guided Tour
Mr Lai Mohammed, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili and a member of the BBOG group

Although Mr Mohammed said that there was a near breakthrough in December 2016, he noted that talks were ongoing to ensure the release of the girls.

He added that the government was employing the sticks and carrot method, stressing the need for patience and perseverance on the part of Nigerians.

The minister, however, assured the citizens that the government was doing everything within its powers to ensure the release of the girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorists in April 2014 from their school in Chibok community of Borno State.

Since their abduction, less than 60 of the over 200 girls have been rescued or released.

North-East Tour: BBOG, Information Minister Give Account

North-East Tour: BBOG, Information Minister Give Account The Minister of Information and Communication, Mr Lai Mohammed, says negotiations are still ongoing for the release of the Chibok girls and every other abductee with the Boko Haram insurgents.

The Minister spoke as he led a Federal Government delegation with the BringBackOurGirls Group to North-east Nigeria to witness efforts by the military to rescue the remaining abducted Chibok girls.

The Minister, who was responding to comments by the Bring Back Our Girls group, said that there was a measure of success in negotiations as at December 1, but assured the members of the group that talks were still on to ensure the release of the girls from their abductors.

He, however, added that the tour had opened up to the world “the how and the what” strategies of the Federal Government and the armed forces to release every abducted person, and bring the insurgency to an end.

BBOG Arrives Northeast On Guided Tour

Responding to questions on their level of satisfaction on the efforts to find the abducted school girls, the BBOG group said that the trip had afforded them the opportunity to validate their stance that no military dis-empowered could win the war on terror.

Voice Of Accountability.

The convener of the group, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, added that the group was more empowered to demand that any person who had been indicted for embezzlement of resources meant to prosecute the war on terror be prosecuted and brought to book.

She also said that the tour had shown that transparency and willingness to open up on the strategies and measures taken in prosecution of the war have more gains than loss.

She, however, added that the Federal Government must also take away from the tour, the fact that their advocacy on the war on terror in the north-east had gotten everybody to take more interest in what was going on in the north-east, for which this tour was initiated and that the group would continue to remain the voice of accountability.

She urged the Minister of Information to continue to give update on the prosecution of persons found wanting for embezzlement of funds meant for the prosecution war on terror.

Proposed Visit To Nigeria’s Northeast, Government Responds To BBOG

Nigerian government on proposed visit to northeast with BBOGThe Nigerian government is insisting that an earlier date it had agreed with the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group for a guided tour of Nigeria’s northeast, where the notorious Sambisa Forest is located, will not be shifted. 

The group had in a letter to the Federal Government on Friday requested that the the proposed date of the tour, January 16, be changed to accommodate a Pre-Tour Meeting between it and some top officials of the Federal Government.

But the spokesman for the Nigerian government, Mr Lai Mohammed, in response to the group’s demand said the government had noted the conditions given by the BBOG “for embarking on the trip, which include the said Pre-Tour Meeting and the retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, which the #BBOG finds to be “slanderous”.

“We regret, however, to inform you that we are unable to postpone the trip as scheduled because the need to proceed with the trip on Monday is predicated on the narrow window available to have a good weather on that day.

“Additionally, the payment for the satellite downlink streaming of the mission has been made for that Monday, and shifting the date will require another round of booking to secure such a slot,” the letter to the group by the Federal Government read.

Mr Mohammed further stated that apart from the #BBOG members, local and international journalists have been invited for the trip, while much preparations have been made by the Nigerian military.

‘Drop Conditions And Join Trip’

On the remark the group claimed the Chief of Army Staff made, the government’s spokesman  said: “With due respect, we will also like to say that the remarks purportedly made by the Chief of Army Staff and the request for a meeting with certain top officials of the government are, at best, tangential to the invitation we extended to the #BBOG to join the search mission, in recognition of the group’s commitment to the safe release of the Chibok girls who remain in captivity as well as its continued interest in the welfare of the girls who have been released”.

The government further expressed hopes that the #BBOG would drop its conditions and join the trip, which showed the commitment of the Federal Government to securing freedom for the Chibok girls and its transparency in handling the issue of the girls.

The invitation for the proposed tour is coming at a time that the group held a week-long protest, demanding for more efforts from the government and the military to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls.

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

Since their abduction by Boko Haram terrorists, less than 60 of the girls have been rescued and the recent announcement of the clearing of the terrorists’ last bastion in Sambisa Forest, where most of the girls are believed to have been held, has raised concerns about the whereabouts of the remaining girls.

Boko Haram had weeks after their abduction said the ‘girls have been married off’, but in October last year, 21 of the girls, some of them with babies, were released by the terrorists after negotiations with the Federal Government.

President Buhari Welcomes Recovery Of Another Chibok Girl

Chibok Girls, Muhammadu BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday lauded the recovery of another Chibok schoolgirl, Rakiya Abubakar, in the Alagarno area of Damboa Local Government in Borno State.

The President said that the recovery has raised renewed hope that the other captured girls would one day be reunited with their families, friends and community.

He also commended the military for the diligent investigation which led to the recovery of Rakiya and urged them to continue in the spirit with which they cleared the Sambisa forest of terrorists.

President Buhari gave the assurance that the Nigerian Government would continue to do all within its powers to assist the military in locating the rest of the girls and eradicating the menace of terrorism in Nigeria.

The spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman, had confirmed to reporters, the rescue of Rakiya, who was abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents in April 2014.

He said that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, while questioning some arrested suspected terrorists, discovered the girl with her six months old baby.

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok Girl

Preliminary investigation revealed that the rescued kidnap victim is the daughter of Abubakar Gali Mulima and Habiba Abubakar of Chibok community in northeast Nigeria.

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok Girl

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok GirlThe Nigerian Army says it has found another one of the Chibok girls, who were abducted in April 2014 from their hostel.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, confirmed this to reporters on Thursday.

He stated that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, during investigation of arrested suspected Boko Haram terrorists, discovered one of the abducted Chibok School girls, Rakiya Abubkar, with her six months old baby.

According to preliminary investigation, it was discovered that she is the daughter of Abubakar Gali Mulima and Habiba Abubakar of Chibok.

She also revealed that she was a student of Senior Secondary School Class 3B (SS 3B), before her abduction along with her colleagues on April 14, 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorists.

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok Girl

Rakiya Abubakar is presently undergoing further medical investigation and would soon be released to the Borno State Government.

The Federal Government secured the release of 21 of the girls on October 31, 2016 after negotiation with the terrorist group that had requested for prisoners swap.

They were released in a deal brokered by the International Committee of Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

 

21 Chibok Girls Return Home For Christmas

21 Chibok School Girls Return Home For ChristmasThe recently released 21 Chibok girls will be in Chibok, their ancestral home for the first time since their abduction to join their families and friends in celebrating the 2016 Christmas.

This is following the celebrated release of 21 of the schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014.

The girls, who have now become international figures, arrived Yola International Airport secretly and under tight security were received by the Adamawa State Governor, Senator Mohammed Jibrilla.

Channels TV correspondent reports that the girls appeared tense, anxious and uncertain of what to expect as they looked forward to uniting with their families.

Accompanying the Chibok girls was CNN Correspondent, Aisha Sesay who has been involved in the welfare of the girls. She could not hide her feeling of joy.

Governor Mohammed Jibrilla thanked President Buhari for his commitment in fighting insurgency in the northeast and said that he was excited receiving the Chibok schoolgirls in Yola on their way home for Christmas.

They proceeded to one of the five star hotels in Yola where they were lodged for the night and Governor Jibrilla was back the following morning to bid them farewell as they embarked on their final trip to Chibok.

While some parents of the kidnapped girls expressed their delight, one of the 21 girls on their way home for the Christmas, Asabe Hune, said that they were praying for the release of the remaining girls under Boko Haram captivity.

“I feel happy today as we are going home, we will assist the remaining girls by praying for their release so that they can return home for us to be together again.

“I have nothing more to say except to thank the government for everything they have done to us.”

They were escorted by security operatives to Chibok for the yuletide.

The release of the girls in October was secured by the Federal Government after negotiation with the terrorist group that had requested for prisoners swap.

They were released on October 31, 2016 in a deal brokered by the International Committee of Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

The Nigerian government had earlier denied reports claiming the release of another set of 21 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists.
Reports had claimed that the girls, who were kidnapped in April 2014, had been transported to Yola, Adamawa State, after their release on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, said that the 21 girls reported on Thursday, were those released in October.

FG Clears Air On Alleged Release Of Chibok Girls 

FG, Chibok Girls The Nigerian government has denied reports claiming the release of another set of 21 Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists.
Reports had claimed that the girls, who were kidnapped in April 2014, had been transported to Yola, Adamawa State, after their release on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, says the 21 girls reported on Thursday, were those released in October.
The release of the girls in October was secured by the Federal Government after negotiation with the terrorist group that had requested for prisoners swap.

The government, however, said it secured the release of the girls based on trust and that no member of the terrorist group held was released  in exchange.

However, this came after the President, Muhammadu Buhari, had expressed his readiness to release the girls in a swap deal that the group had asked for.

The over 200 school girls were abducted from their hostel, in Chibok town of Borno State.

While some of them have managed to escape, a larger number still remain in the terrorists’ captivity.

The abduction of the girls on April 14, 2014 brought Boko Haram into international spotlight, with many using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to raise awareness for the campaign to find the abducted girls and rescue them.

BBOG Rallies Support For Nigerian Military Personnel

ezekwesiliThe Bring Back Our Girls campaigners are asking the government and Nigerians to improve the welfare of the Nigerian military.

The group made the demand on Sunday when they gathered in Abuja at a special sit out to honour departed Lieutenant Colonel Abul Ali and other fallen heroes.

It maintained that only a well-motivated force could subdue the Boko Haram terrorists that have pushed for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the north-eastern region for over six years.

While praising the courage of the late army Colonel, they also called on Nigerians to show love to the families of military personnel, as a mark of appreciation for their supreme sacrifices.

A leader of the group, Oby Ezekwesili, further charged the military authorities to step up intelligence gathering in the fight against insurgency as well as be accountable to the Nigerian people.

“Just looking at the duty allowances and bonus that they get, the way that they’re honoured and the prestige with which they are treated as those who are executing that war at the battle front, more support would make a big difference.

“In many ways, the psyche of our military needs to be so overhauled towards a sense that the society and the government are with them and that they are not left to their own fate. I think that it is important that we, not just we as BBOG, but all of us in the country, have to put a voice out there. We must demand accountability from our military.

“The military establishment must be subject to the demand of accountability and we never cease doing that. That is one thing.

“The other thing is the soldiers at the frontline of battle deserves our support. They deserve our encouragement and gratitude. All other countries around the world have these seasons when they specially show appreciation to their soldiers. We cannot make it a one off event. It has to be something that is constant and we hope that spirit will see an expression in the motivation of our soldiers to even do more,” she told the gathering.

Another member of the group, Aisha Yesufu, also stressed the need for Nigerians to show soldiers in the frontline that they are with them and would continue to protect them and look after their families.

“We are calling on, not only the Nigerian government, but individuals for us to adopt families of soldiers that are at the front.

“That is the thing that we are talking about today,” she added.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali was killed in gun battle with members of the Boko Haram sect few days ago alongside some other soldiers.

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.

chibok-girls-released1
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.

recession
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.