- Swapping Boko Haram’s suspects with Chibok girls political decision, Says CDS
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Following the release of a new video purportedly showing some of the kidnapped Chibok girls, the Federal Government has said that it is talking to Boko Haram to ensure the safe return of the girls.
The Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, spoke on Monday in Abuja at the State House.
He said: “The government’s position is clear that we are in touch with them. We are just being careful and cautious to ensure that we are talking to the right people, especially with the news that there is a split in the leadership.”
Also on Monday, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin, said releasing detained Boko Haram’s suspects for the return of the girls would be a political decision.
Mohammed said the safety and security of the girls remained a high priority for the government.
He said: “The thrust of my statement was to assure the nation that we are on top of the situation. We are not even just reacting to the video, we have gone far beyond the video in talking to the group already.”
Asked for the position government on the call by Boko Haram to release the girls while government in return releases detained members of the sects, the minister said: “Until you are able to ascertain the authenticity of those you are talking to, you don’t go into details.”
On the plan by members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign to protest to the State House, the minister said that government appreciated their efforts and assured them that government remained determined to rescue the girls.
He said:” We appreciate their commitment to the return of these girls but there are few things we need to do behind the scene. What we are saying is that the government is committed to do everything to rescue these girls.
“We are engaging them. By saying we are talking to them, I am talking from a point of knowledge. It does not matter what other people say. I know that the government is in touch with the group.
“Most people will forget the issue of these girls as soon as the effect of this video is over but the government is daily working on it.
“Until the release of this video, the effort is not attracting any attention. But everyday, the Office of the National Security Adviser and others concerned are working on it.
“For us, it is not just because of the release of the video but because of our belief that there will be no final closure to Boko Haram until we are able to resolve the issue of these girls.”
Further details later