President 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 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
Nigeria’s Presidency has advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop distracting the President with frivolous and unfounded allegations of selectivity in the war against corruption.
Reacting to an allegation of the opposition party, published by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said that contrary to the PDP’s allegations, President Buhari did not shield any All Progressives Congress (APC) government official from facing prosecution for corruption.
The President’s spokesman explained that since President Buhari resumed office, he had never told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to probe any APC Governor because they were party members.
‘Malicious And Unfounded’
According to Mr Shehu, it was convenient for the PDP to remember the cases of Sule Lamido, but it pretended not to notice the fact that former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, who is an APC member, was also arrested and arraigned simultaneously.
The Presidency in the statement, asked Mr Metuh to produce any evidence or instance when President Buhari interfered in the activities of the EFCC by telling them who to prosecute and who to shield from prosecution.
President Buhari’s spokesman also described as ‘malicious and unfounded’ the allegation by Metuh that “funds from the Excess Crude Account are being depleted by the Buhari’s administration to allegedly pay back APC Governors that contributed to his presidential campaign”.
He advised Mr Metuh to either come forward with evidence, or apologise to Nigerians for willfully propagating falsehoods in order to gain cheap publicity or public sympathy.
The Media aide said it was the responsibility of the former PDP administration to prosecute APC and PDP Governors whose alleged cases of corruption were brought to its attention.
He said if the unseated PDP administration had facts against APC governors, it was within its powers to prosecute them.
Following the allegation that the Buhari administration was secretly planning to award oil refining licenses to its cronies, the Presidency described the accusation as absurd and ridiculous. It stressed that the adherence to transparency and due process would always be President Buhari’s philosophy on doing things.
The Presidential statement reiterated that the Buhari-led administration was passionately committed to fighting corruption in all its ramifications and that no amount of blackmail, distraction and false allegation would deflect the President from this course, in line with his campaign promises.
The Presidency has advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to stop what it describes as a pathetic effort to play-down President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements in his first 100 days in office.
Reacting to the PDP statement claiming the economy is going down under the APC-led administration, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, blamed the PDP for the state of the economy.
He said under the PDP administration, the country witnessed an acceleration of poverty, which united Nigerians for change.
According to the President’s aide, “it is ridiculous for any sane government to artificially rebase the economy and claim to transform Nigeria into the largest economy in Africa as the PDP administration did.”
He also alleged that the defeated former ruling party was artificially manipulating statistics to create the illusion of impressive economic performance.
The media aide said the Buhari-led administration has successfully blocked leakages and other avenues for corruption, practices which he said the previous administration lacked the will or the desire to stop.
The PDP had described as alarming, the damage so far done on the nation’s economy by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC since it took office at the centre, three months ago.
The party said the shambolic state of the nation’s economy within the period, which they alleged represents the worst in the nation’s contemporary history, is a direct fallout of uncertainty created by the inability of the Buhari-led government to chart a clear-cut economic policy, worsened by abuse of regulations, and flagrant violation of constitutional provisions.
It cited a decline in Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with about 2.35 per cent, while at the same time claiming that job creation has dropped by 69 per cent.
A former member of the Legal and Security Directorate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla on Monday blamed “forces of corruption” for producing the “so called 100 days promise” by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We don’t know about that document. I was in the APC Presidential Campaign Council and there was no document that emanated from the Presidential Campaign Council saying that the President will transform Nigerian into a land of milk and honey.
“As far as I am concerned the 100 days is nothing. How do you expect a government to transform the country in 100 days? It is far-fetched, it is a gimmickry by those people who were afraid of APC, who portrayed the APC maliciously and falsely as a northern and Muslim party.
“It is far from the truth”, he maintained.
Mr Obono-Obla, who made the claim on Tuesday while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, alleged that since the “PDP devastated the country in 16 years of misrule”, neither the APC nor the President would have produced such a document because “it is unrealistic”.
He further argued that President Buhari’s administration has “in 100 days, made Nigeria to earn a lot of respect from other countries”, adding that “the amount of stealing going on now has reduced compared to five or six months ago”, maintaining that “everyone is on his toes.
“We have seen a lot of gains from the fight against corruption. Fighting corruption is not all about putting people into jail. But I know that a lot of people are returning money that was illegally taken out of the treasury” he said.
Mr Obono-Obla’s views are coming days after President Muhammadu Buhari distanced himself from two documents containing promises on what he would achieve in his first 100 days in office.
A statement from his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu titled: “Understanding Buhari in 100 days” said he has no knowledge of the two campaign documents which reportedly emanated from the party’s “many centres of public communication which, for whatever reason, were on the loose.”
According to the statement, “There is a certain document tagged “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and the other, “My Covenant With Nigerians.”
“Both pamphlets bore the authorised party logo but as the Director of Media and Communications in that campaign, I did not fund or authorise any of those. I can equally bet my last Kobo that Candidate Buhari did not see or authorise those publications.
“As a consequence of these publications, expectations have been raised unreasonably, that as President, Muhammadu Buhari, will wave his hand and all the problems that the country faces — insecurity, corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure would go away.
“But that notwithstanding, President Buhari has given the job his best shot and the whole country is saying that we never had it so good. He has re-instituted the values of hard work and administrative efficiency. The President says times without number that this country needs to fix governance and that he won’t tolerate laziness.
Nigeria’s Presidency has refuted claims of selective prosecution of alleged corrupt public officials, following allegations credited to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Presidency maintained that Buhari does not interfere with the work of anti-corruption agencies.
“Whosoever is involved in corruption should face the law. Corruption has no political party, religion nor ethnic group,” a statement by a spokesman to the President, Mr Garba Shehu, read.
‘Plead Your Innocence’
The Presidency described allegations of selective fight against corruption as wild, and that such claims should not have come from respected, noble and distinguished members of the hallowed Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr Shehu stated that “the claim is false and belongs to the past, and not the present. Public officials and other leaders accused of corruption by relevant agencies should plead their innocence, not plead malice”.
The Presidency also condemned the allegations of alleged harassment by the officials of the Department of State Security (DSS), stressing that “any individual or group of individuals who consider their legitimate political and civil rights infringed upon by the DSS or the Independent National Electoral Commission or anyone or institution at all is advised to seek protection and redress under the constitution and laws of Nigeria.
Mr Shehu also assured that impunity would not be condoned under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch, and that the Rule of Law will govern every facet of governance.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has stressed the need for stakeholders in information management to ensure that accurate information is disseminated to the general public at all times.
Speaking at a meeting with members of the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) and the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), Wednesday in Abuja, Mr. Adesina said that it was only with accurate information that the public could have a better understanding of the actions and policies of government.
Welcoming the FOSSRA and CCC team, Mr. Adesina said that their establishment was timely as they will help in building and fostering the much needed synergy among critical stakeholders in security and crisis management.
He gave an assurance that the present administration will collaborate with the Centre in ensuring that activities of government, especially in the area of ameliorating the pains of victims of terrorism and insurgency are well disseminated.
The Chairman of FOSSRA, who is also the Defence spokesperson, Major-General Chris Olukolade, congratulated Mr. Adesina and the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Mallam Garba Shehu, on their appointment.
Major-General Olukolade also briefed the Presidential spokespersons on the activities of the Centre for Crisis Communication and FOSSRA.
Nigeria’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, says he will drop the title “General” from his name immediately after being sworn-in on May 29, 2015.
General Buhari, through his Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, unveiled in a one paragraph statement on Sunday, that he would like to be known after the swearing as, Muhammadu Buhari, President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The statement also noted that the Vice President-elect would also be officially referred to as Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Minister of Information, Patricia Akwashiki, had earlier stated that May 29 remains the date for the handover of governance from President Goodluck Jonathan to the President-elect, General Muhammudu Buhari.
Mrs Akwashiki made the clarification at the end of a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Jonathan.
Muhammadu Buhari, born December 17, 1942, is a retired Major-General of the Nigerian Army. He was Head of State of Nigeria from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.