Presidency Reacts To Salkida’s Claims About Remaining Chibok Girls

chibok girls, boko haram

The Presidency has reacted to a claim by a Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, that most of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity are dead.

The Presidency said the claim by Salkida is not known to the Nigerian government.

Over 200 schoolgirls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok by the insurgents in April 2014. While many of the girls were released, a few others narrowly escaped the abduction.

Salkida in a series of Tweet, on Saturday, claimed that only 15 of the at least 113 Chibok girls believed to be in Boko Haram captivity are alive.

Mr Salkida claimed that after he had conducted in-depth investigation he discovered many of the girls died during crossfire with security forces. He added that the remaining 15 girls have since been married off to Boko Haram terrorists.

“Today, my painstaking investigations on the #Chibokschoolgirls revealed that just a handful of the 113 #ChibokGirls are alive. Many of the girls have died as a result of crossfires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt was intent on rescuing them.

“I regret to state here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last three months and we have already seen some of them in a video, which I exclusively obtained and was published on SR website.

“What is the status of the remaining 15 girls as far as negotiations are concerned? My investigations also revealed that they are no longer under the control of #AbubakarShekau. According to sources, they are now ‘married’ and only their ‘husbands’ can decide their fates,” some of his tweets read.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Remembers Chibok Abduction Four Years Later

However, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu debunked Salkida’s claims in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.

The presidential aide said the information disclosed by Salkida is not known to the Federal Government. He also denied that Salkida was involved, on behalf of the Nigerian government, in the processes leading to the release of the over 100 Chibok girls.

“Following the numerous press enquiries on the information contained in the series of tweets by Mr Ahmed Salkida, we wish to reiterate that the information is not known to the officials of this administration either from the captors of the Chibok girls or the international intercessors who are working with us.

“We wish to confirm that Mr Salkida is not involved, on behalf of the Nigerian government in the processes leading to the release of the over 100 Chibok Girls that have returned to their families, so far and is not involved in the current processes to secure the release of those still held in captivity.”

Shehu added that Salkida never approached the Nigerian government with the information he had concerning the remaining schoolgirls in captivity.

He also insisted that the girls are still alive and the government is doing all they can to ensure the release of the girls.

“If there is any information he has concerning the remainder of those girls, he has, up till this moment not approached the government Nigeria with it. All press enquirers on the subject should, therefore, be directed to Mr Salkida.

“The facts as known to our officials and the international contacts assisting this process are that the remaining Chibok Girls are there and we are not relenting on getting their release.

“As stated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, the government is not relenting. We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. They also advised not to lose faith in this government’s ability to fulfil its promise, that the girls will not be abandoned or forgotten,” the statement read.

 

‘Remaining Chibok Girls Will Never Be Forgotten’

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier promised that the remaining Chibok girls in Boko Haram captivity will not be forgotten as long as he remains Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.

The President’s comment was on Friday, April 13, a day to the fourth anniversary of the abduction of the girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

In a series of tweets, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said President Buhari assured the parents of the girls that “their daughters will never be forgotten or abandoned to their fate”.

“Don’t imagine for a moment that we have forgotten about our daughters or that we consider their freedom a lost course,” he quoted the President, to have said.

Chibok Girls Rescue: Buhari Commends Red Cross’ Role

muhammadu-buhari-commends-red-cross-chibok-girlsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has commended the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the release of the 21 abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

The President, however, urged the group to sustain its humanitarian interest in Nigeria.

He made the remarks on Monday at a meeting with the ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Nigeria’s Biggest Problem

Buhari said his administration was prepared to continue talks with the Boko Haram insurgents,” as long as they agree to involve international agencies like ICRC.

“We’ve seen the result of recent talks, 21 of the Chibok girls are back,” the President said, referring to the role played by ICRC in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the girls who had spent over 900 days in the hands of their abductors.

He pointed out that Nigeria’s biggest problem was perhaps, the issue of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

President Buhari also noted that there were over two million of them, “made up of over 60% women and children.

“About 60% of the children don’t know their parents, or where they come from.

“It is weighing heavily on government,” he stated.

muhammadu-buhari-commends-red-cross2

Difficult Time For Nigeria

President Buhari said rebuilding destroyed infrastructure was a priority of the government, adding that the G7 had equally indicated support, which Nigeria heartily welcomed.

“We appreciate all your efforts.

“I am pleased you recognised that our military is cooperating with civil authorities and respecting humanitarian issues.

“It is a difficult time for Nigeria.

“About 27 of our 36 states couldn’t pay salaries when we came last year and we are still struggling with that.

“But we will get out of it,” the optimistic President said.

In his remarks, Mr Maurer said the ICRC’s operation in the Lake Chad region was the second largest in the world, after Syria.

He identified the nutritional, health, water and sanitation issues in the Northeast region, in addition to rebuilding of infrastructure.

“We are ready to engage and play supportive role in responding to crisis in Nigeria.

“Security is a lot better than it was a year ago, but humanitarian problems are serious and don’t disappear so quickly,” Maurer pointed out.

The ICRC President commended Nigeria for granting increased access to detainees and exchanges with the Armed Forces.

He said the detention facilities had improved, citing the cases of better health conditions and fewer deaths recorded.

Chibok Girls’ Rescue Is Priority For My Husband – Mrs. Buhari

Chibok The wife of Nigeria’s President-elect, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has called for international assistance for Nigeria to enable the immediate release and rehabilitation of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls.

Mrs. Aisha Buhari made the call at the opening session of the Global Conference on Women and Social Inclusion, holding in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where women from around the world have gathered to mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing action.

Addressing the congregation of women during one of the sessions, Mrs. Buhari revealed that the release of the Chibok schoolgirls and all the women seized by Boko Haram is one of the immediate priorities of her husband when he assumes office on May 29, 2015.

Mrs. Aisha Buhari who led the delegation of Nigerian women, including, Mrs. Mairo Al-makura, Nkechi Okorocha and Abike Dabiri, made a compelling case for international assistance for Nigeria to overcome Boko Haram.

She also spoke on the need to build confidence in both the parents and schoolgirls to ensure they continue their education.

Just as the violence against the Chibok schoolgirls attracted global attention, some of the participants at the conference also called for legislation that protect the working condition of women.

The gathering was also aimed at speeding up action on the 1995 Beijing resolution on gender equality for women and UNDP Representative, Helen Clark, said that although the level of women participation increased significantly to 22.1% in the last 20 years, more can still be done to attain the 35% affirmative action.

Top among those at the conference were the Director-General of the United Nations Women for Africa, Phumzile Miambo, former Malawian President, Mrs. Joyce Banda and right activists

The conference is providing Mrs. Aisha Buhari and the Nigerian delegation with gainful insight on how to address the challenges facing Nigerian women when her husband assume office later this month.

Jonathan Tells Commonwealth Youths To Campaign Against Violence

 JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated that his political ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian citizens.

While speaking to members of the Commonwealth Youth Council led by current Chairman, Ahmed Adamu, in the presidential villa on Wednesday, President Jonathan said elective officers are for service.

“If any politician is endangering the lives of the citizens, it has amounted to deception,” he said.

Mr President also called on the youths to campaign against violence to the grassroots, so the message would sink in the ears of those who may want to foment trouble during the election.

While addressing politicians at the All Political Parties Summit, held at the Federal Capital Territory earlier, President Jonathan said his political ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian.

President Jonathan decried the discordant tunes from politicians since the advent of terrorism in Nigeria and called on politicians to join hands with the Federal Government if the war against terror must be won.

Emphasising the need to place national interest ahead of personal ambition, he also decried what he called anti-democratic tendencies of some politicians and the tension being created.

Goodluck Jonathan advised the gathering that no one should play into the hands of extremist elements who use the campaign of terror against the country.

Military Says Girls In Videos Alleged To Have Escaped From Abductors Are Not Chibok Girls

Alex_BadehThe Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has said that the girls showed in videos in May by foreign media and alleged to have escaped from members of the Boko Haram sect that abducted them in April were not the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

Air Chief Marshal Badeh spoke in a meeting on Wednesday with media and security agencies held in Abuja.

He questioned the covering of the faces of the girls by the foreign if they were the schoolgirls said to have been abducted.

According to him, some foreign press interviewed some girls they claimed were some Chibok schoolgirls that escaped from the Boko Haram members.

“They were speaking Hausa and these are girls that were going to write SSCE. Those ones cannot be those Chibok girls and they did not show us their faces so that we will know.

“Certainly, those were not the girls that were taken from that school. I think we need to shine our eyes,” Air Chief Marshal Badeh said.

The over 200 Chibok girls were abducted from their schools’ dormitory by members of the Boko Haram sect after an attack on the Chibok community on April 14. They have not yet been rescued.

The defence chief also said that there was no going back on the conviction of 12 soldiers found guilty of mutiny last month.

“When we took the oath to become soldiers, we took oath to defend Nigeria with everything we have. Your own is to first obey.
“We condemned them to death. We did not make the laws. The National Assembly made the laws and it is there in the books. People are saying no-no you cannot do that. Why won’t we do it?” He questioned.

According to him, the reactions over the sentencing of the military personnel could force the military to consider holding field court martial in the bush, after which military personnel sentenced would be killed instantly and buried in the bush.

Presidency Replies Northern Elders Over Ultimatum On Chibok Girls

Northern EldersThe President, on Tuesday, fired back at a faction of northern elders, who, on Monday gave him up until October to produce the abducted Chibok schoolgirls or forget about 2015 Presidency.

The President’s Special Assistance on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in a statement, described the northern elders’ ultimatum as preposterous and one meant to cause what he called “hate mentality and mischief.”

He said that the President does not need an ultimatum to do his job and that he was doing a lot to rescue the Chibok girls.

He pointed out seven areas where the President has demonstrated great concern on the Chibok issue to include, improving on the military’s professional and personnel capabilities, taking advantage of the offer made by the international community, and securing the nation’s borders among others.

According to Dr. Okupe, “The issue of insurgency, especially those ideologically based on Islamic extremism, is a global phenomenon and requires tact, military capability, serious de-radicalisation techniques and community based counter insurgency programmes to ensure success.”

The faction of the Northern Elders Forum led by Maitama Sule, on Monday, gave President Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum till the end of October 2014 to produce the over 200 abducted Chibok girls in Borno State and also bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that failure to do so amounts to him being deemed unfit to seek re-election in 2015.

The Northern Elders noted that the warning became imperative because they were of the firm belief that the lingering terrorist attacks and other related security challenges in the country pose a major threat to the 2015 elections and the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

Northern Elders Give Jonathan October Ultimatum To Produce Chibok Girls

Chibok GirlsThe faction of the Northern Elders Forum led by Maitama Sule, on Monday, gave President Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum till the end of October 2014 to produce the over 200 abducted Chibok girls in Borno State and also bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that failure to do so amounts to him being deemed unfit to seek re-election in 2015. 

The Northern Elders noted that the warning became imperative because they were of the firm belief that the lingering terrorist attacks and other related security challenges in the country pose a major threat to the 2015 elections and the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

Addressing  a news conference in Kaduna, Spokesman of the forum, Solomon Dalung, identified lack of political will and corruption among government officials and the military authorities as being largely responsible for the lingering insurgency in the North-East, where thousands of innocent people have been killed.

The forum lamented that this situation has allowed the insurgents to take over some parts of the North-East without much resistance from the nation’s security forces.

The forum further alleged that the failure of the government to put an end to the current insecurity in Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa states was a deliberate plot to weaken the North’s political and economic potentials ahead of the 2015 elections.

They expressed disappointment over the unwillingness of prominent leaders of the region to use their connections to tackle the problem.

The forum called for a thorough investigation into the recent assassination attempt on General Muhammadu Buhari by suspected terrorists, and also condemned the alleged ill treatment being meted against northerners in some states in the South, whereby they are said to have been tagged as terrorists.

Political Parties Summit: Jonathan Says Ambition Not Worth Nigerians’ Blood

Goodluck JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has again reiterated that his political ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian citizen.

The President said this while addressing politicians at the All Political Parties Summit, holding in the Federal Capital Territory.

He decried the discordant tunes from politicians since the advent of terrorism in the country and called on politicians to join hands with the Federal Government if the war against terror must be won.

Emphasizing the need to place national interest ahead of personal ambition, he also decried what he called anti-democratic tendencies of some politicians and the tension being created. He advised that no one should play into the hands of extremist elements who use the campaign of terror against the country.

The President also applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the   establishment of the Inter-Party Advisory Council and the transformation of the electoral process and called on politicians not to take this for granted.

The organisers of the event chose the very significant June 12 to meet, and uppermost in their minds was how to effect inter party collaboration, national stability and democratic consolidation.

The organisers chose the theme following discordant tunes in the polity following terrorism and abduction of Chibok schoolgirls.

The Chairman of the occasion, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, brought his understanding of what it takes to midwife the democratic process to bear, as he spoke about how politicians could sustain the Nigerian democracy especially in a charged atmosphere.

Also, security was said to be very important if democracy must thrive, as political upheavals in the country would bear serious consequences if the political class do not conduct themselves with decorum, no matter the political divide.

At the last count, over six major political parties in the country had their members represented, including some past Nigerian leaders, heads of state, and members of the diplomatic corps and other friends of Nigeria.

Also present were the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; Special Adviser to the President on Interparty Affairs, Ben Obi; PDP National Chairman, Adamu Muazu and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, who urged political parties to play by the rules.

Goodwill messages poured in from the political parties present.

 

Children’s Day: UNICEF Seeks Collective Responsibility In Protection Of Children

ChildrenChildren all over Nigeria are being celebrated today, to commemorate the International Children’s Day.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for collective responsibility in the protection of children.

Speaking on the back of the insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria, UNICEF representative in the country, Jean Gough, says the fear of abduction would erode all the gains made in girls’ education.

She urged everyone to work together to ensure that all children, no matter where they reside, are protected so they can grow into productive adults who will contribute to the country’s future development.

The usual celebrations would be low key in many parts of the country especially in the North East in solidarity with the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped from Borno State in April.

Children’s Day is recognized on various days in many places around the world, to honor children globally. It was first proclaimed by the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in 1925 and then established universally in 1954 to protect an “appropriate” day.

The officially recognized date of Children’s Day varies from country to country.

We Have Information On Chibok Girls – Chief Of Defence Staff

Alex Badeh CDSHope is not lost on the missing Chibok schoolgirls, as the Chief of Defence Staff on Monday assured Nigerians that the search was in progress.

Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh told some protesters at the Defense Headquarters in Abuja, that the military was, however, not using force to rescue the kidnapped girls.

He said that the military had information on the location of the girls but would tread softly to get the students out.

“If we go with force, what will happen, they will kill them. Nobody should come and say the Nigerian military does not know what it is doing.

“We know what we are doing; we can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back”, he said.

Badeh further explained that the fight against the insurgents could not be likened to a full scale war.

“If we are fighting an external war, they would have been begging us to withdraw”, he said, adding that the Nigerian Military has shown its abilities in civil war situations, making reference to its role in restoring democracy in Liberia and Sierra-Leone.

He also referred to the war on terror as an unfortunate one for the country. “We are not happy at all, because we are killing our own kinsmen and we are killing mostly the youths.

“We cannot afford to eliminate our youths, who are we going to hand over Nigeria to, we can’t kill them.”

The CDS refused to give details of his statement that the military would not use force in its efforts to secure the release of the abducted girls but gave assurances that the war on terror would be won by the Nigerian military. “The President has empowered us to do the work”, he said.

On April 14 over 200 girls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok Borno State by members of the Boko Haram.

While the Nigerian Government makes efforts to secure the release of the schoolgirls, the Boko Haram sect has continued to carry out deadly attacks in the northern part of the country.

An explosion ripped through a drinking centre in Kano, Northern Nigeria on Sunday, May 18 with the Police averting what could have been another devastating bomb blast in the ancient city a day after.

At least 76 persons were killed in two bomb blasts in the central area of Jos, the Plateau State capital on Tuesday, May 20, with another bomb blast on Saturday night along Bauchi road, close to a football viewing centre by University of Jos in which about three people died.

Chibok Abduction: PDP Chairman Berates State Government’s Approach

Adamu MuazuThe National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, believes that the Borno State Governor as the Chief Security Officer of his state should do more in the search for the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television and his first major interview since becoming the Chairman of the PDP, Mr Muazu feels that the Chibok situation has been used as a political tool.

The PDP Chairman spoke with our correspondent, Betty Dibia in South Africa.

He made reference to the warnings that preceded the Chibok incident which should have prevented the State Governor from allowing the school to host exams but which he refused to heed.

Muazu cited warnings by the Ministry of Education and the West African Examination Council, WAEC, expressing their fears and the view that the school was not suitable but which the State Government met with assurances of adequate security, only for the attack to be successfully carried out by the insurgents.

He, therefore, condemned the idea of the Governor traveling abroad and speaking to foreign media organizations and divulging what he saw as issues of Nigeria’s governance.