Chibok Girls Release: Abubakar Highlights Role Of Dialogue In Crisis Situation

 abdulsalami-abubakarA former Head of State in Nigeria, Mr Abdulsalami Abubakar, has highlighted the role of dialogue in crisis situation, saying it could be used to resolve Niger Delta militants’ crisis.

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.

Chibok Girls
Some of the released Chibok girls in tears during a reception with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

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.

muhammadu-buhari-on-wife-comment
Muhammadu Buhari says he will continue to push for the release of other girls

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.

Chibok Girls’ Release: We Will Not Fall For Fraudsters, FG Says

chibok girlsThe Nigerian government says it will not fall for the antics of fraudsters asking the Federal Government for money to negotiate the release of the Chibok girls.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the statement on Friday while reiterating that the rescue and return of the remaining Chibok girls abducted on April 14, 2014, by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group remains a priority of his administration.

The girls were taken from their dormitory in Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok a community in Borno State in northeast Nigeria while they were preparing for their final year examinations.

Receiving the Primate and Archbishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at the State House, President Buhari said that his administration would continue to insist on a thorough authentication of the identities of any persons or groups claiming to have custody of the girls before entering into negotiations with them.

Anglican Bishops
The bishops are optimistic that things will improve in Nigeria in the next one year

The President, however, assured the Anglican Bishops of his steadfast commitment to the rescuing of the Chibok girls, saying that their safe return will be one of his greatest fulfilments in office as President.

Clean-up Of Ogoniland

In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, President Buhari also assured the clerics that the Federal Government would give maximum attention to the clean-up of Ogoniland which was launched on Thursday.

“We inherited the United Nations Environmental Project report from the previous administration. We decided it needed urgent attention, in spite of the economic crunch because of our concern for the welfare and environmental comfort of the people of Ogoniland,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, pledged the support of the church in helping the Federal Government achieve its objectives of improving security and the welfare of Nigerians.

Possible Locations Of Chibok Girls Identified – Air Force

chibokThe Nigerian Air Force says it has been able to identify possible locations of the abducted Chibok girls.

The Director of Public Relations at the Nigerian Air Force, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, told Channels Television that the Air Force is abstaining from attacking the area to make sure that the girls are not hit.

He explained that the latest aerial bombardment of Sambisa forest had been aimed at the logistics base of the Boko Haram sect and not areas where the Chibok girls could be located.

“We have no fears that the girls are not there because hat particular location has been under surveillance for quite a while and we suspected maybe its a kind of ammunition depot or maybe a workshop that they are using as their logistics place.

“Once you take off the logistics base, of course you gradually weaken the resolve of the enemy to be able to prosecute any campaign,” he said.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa also explained some of the tactics used by the Air Force to locate the girls.

He said, ” The UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) has become a force multiplier for us because its cheaper to run these platforms, you are not putting men there (and) the risk of  losing human beings is greatly reduced.

“Again the UAVs have the capability to be airborne for up to eleven hours and its quite cheap to maintain. So, we have been able to employ the UAV to a great extent to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance basically for intelligence gathering on the activities of the Boko Haram.”

He said that the UAVs have also helped the Air Force to understand the terrorists’ pattern of movement and “how to be able to counter them should they want to strike or spring any surprise”.

 

Troops Rescue 26 Persons From Boko Haram In Adamawa

Abducted-persons-Rescued-from-BHThe Nigerian Army has rescued about 10 women and 16 children abducted by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect in Adamawa State, north-east Nigeria.

The rescue was made on Tuesday, few days after two female suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Dar village near Hymbula town of Madagli Local Government of Adamawa State.

Five persons were killed along with the suicide bombers in that attack.

The rescue is an outcome of a military pursuit operation, conducted by the 143 Battalion of the 28 Task Force Brigade of the Nigerian Army after the suicide attack. The operation, which lasted for three hours, started on Tuesday morning.

The villages of Jaje, Madaka, Chakawa and Gori were combed by the military, where it engaged the insurgent and most of them escaped with gunshot wounds while unconfirmed number of the insurgents were killed, the military sources said.

About 70 cows rustled by the insurgents were also recovered while fifteen motorcycles were also recovered and burnt by the military.

‘Surrender Or Face Full Defeat’

The abducted children and women have been conveyed to the IDP Camp in Mubi were they will be profiled before taken to Yola, the military said.

Meanwhile, Military sources of the 28 Task Force Battalion in Mubi, who spoke to Channels Television, said normalcy had been restored to the area and that everything was calm.

On Tuesday, the military issued what it called a ‘final warning’ to Boko Haram terrorists, asking them to surrender or face full defeat by December 2015.

In August, President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the military to end the activities of the Boko Haram in the north-east within three months.

Chibok Community Rejects Government School Reconstruction

Chibok School FoundationChibok community has rejected the gesture by the Nigerian government to reconstruct the Government Secondary School, Chibok, where over 200 schoolgirls were abducted on April 14, 2014, insisting on the return of the girls first.

The group rejected the safe school initiative of the government at a press conference attended by over 1,000 indigenes of Chibok to react to the recent surprise visit of a Nigerian government delegation led by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

At that visit by the Minister, the foundation stone for the reconstruction of some destroyed structures of the Chibok school was laid.

“It is disheartening to inform you that since the abduction of these girls, the Federal Government did not bother to send delegations to Chibok to sympathise with the parents, instead, the parents were invited to Abuja and conveyed in cargo military plane with no comfort whatsoever,” the group said.

The Chibok community led by the Caretaker Chairman of Chibok Council Area, Mr Ba’ana Lawan, accused the Federal Government of several broken promises of rescuing the over 200 abducted schoolgirls.

The community frowned at the recent visit by President Goodluck Jonathan to some communities ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency without similar visit to Chibok to sympathise with the people for the abduction.

Traumatised Parents

“We still observed that recently, President Goodluck Jonathan visited Mubi and Baga, but failed to visit Chibok to sympathise with our people,” the chairman said, emphasising that priority should be given to the rescue of the schoolgirls rather than the rebuilding of the destroyed school.

“We are dismay over the Federal Government’s move to rebuild Government Secondary School (GSS), Chibok which was destroyed by the insurgents during the abduction of the schoolgirls,” Mr Lawan stated.

He said the traumatised parents and the entire people of Chibok community only want their children back home.

“We also observed that the President and Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh had severally promised that these girls will soon be released, but is it is now more than 300 days, and nothing of such happen.

“We thank God and appreciate Governor Kashim Shettima and his wife, Nana Kashim Shettima who did not only visited Chibok when the incident took place, but also secured admission for 59 schoolgirls that escaped from Boko Haram captivity to study in various schools in the country and for all the other assistance the couples have rendered to the parents.

“It is most unfortunate that Chibok local government area has witnessed six different attacks by insurgents with about 300 people losing their lives and property worth millions of naira destroyed, hundreds of houses razed down as well as food and cash crops looted, yet there was no response from the Federal Government,” he lamented.

Mr Lawan strongly condemned the Federal Government’s decision to reconstruct the school where the girls were abducted instead of keeping its numerous promises of returning the girls.