Atiku, Shettima Commend Buhari on Release of 82 Chibok Girls

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Our Correspondents  

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for brokering the release of new 82 abducted Chibok schoolgirls at the weekend.

In a statement personally signed by the former vice president in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, yesterday, Atiku described the girls’ freedom from Boko Haram captivity after three years as a development that shows what Nigeria can achieve as a nation when the people unite as one around a common cause.

“Nigerians stood together as a people with a purpose to free these girls.

“Despite the many setbacks and periods of discouragement, the government, civil society and the citizens all stood together, and today, we are enjoying this victory as one people.

“The Turakin Adamawa commends the efforts of the President Buhari administration, which despite the costly lethargy of the previous administration in rescuing the girls, went after it with renewed vigour.

“Thanks to the hard work of our state security services, the military and the leadership of President Buhari; the government now has tangible results to show for all the persistence,” the statement said.

On his part, Shettima in a statement, said with the latest release of the girls from the shackles of Boko Haram, the president has shown he is sincerely committed to the agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure that all the abducted girls are freed.

He said: “The president has since proved his overriding commitment after the first set of girls were freed. I am sure many Nigerians were surprised by this negotiated freedom of over 82 schoolgirls.”

He said of importance was the fact that, “this cheering news came at a time many critics thought the president wasn’t at work. If there is one thing Nigerians must learn from this joyful development, all Nigerians must believe that in whatever circumstance, President Buhari has this country at heart and he works round the clock to address critical national problems such as we have seen in the successful freedom of our daughters and also in the sustained fight against the insurgents.”

He added that “the Buhari administration, alongside international and local humanitarian partners, were able to negotiate the release of these girls at a time the administration stepped up battle against the insurgents is an extraordinary record of achievement that very few leaders around the world could have achieved.”

ACF Applauds FG

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has applauded the efforts  of the federal government, the security agencies and other international organisations in securing the release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorists over three years ago.

The forum in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji  Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, noted that the period of negotiations for the release of the girls has been painstaking and traumatic not only to the government but the parents and Nigerians.

“However, the patience and prayers of Nigerians have  yielded some positive results.

“ACF therefore, urges the government not to relent until all the girls in captivity are secured and reunited with their families. “The secured girls should also undergo proper medical, psychological treatments and de-radicalisation process” the three – paragraph statement said.

Italian Govt Commends FG

President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies–the equivalent of Nigeria’s House of Representatives-Mrs. Laura Boldrini, yesterday in Lagos described the release of 82 Chibok Schoolgirls as great success, urging the federal government to ensure a better future for the girls.

The Italian top parliamentarian, who also commended the federal government for its effort to tackle terrorism, pointed out that terrorism is a threat to the world.

According to her, “I am happy for the release of the girls by Boko Haram terrorists; this is a great success and I hope these girls will be taken care of as they have passed through a terrible experience and need to recover. For this to happen, they need adequate care.  I am sure they will be taken into a special rehabilitation programme and give them a decent life in the future.

“Terrorism is a threat to the world; it is affecting Europe as well as other parts of the world, more in other part of the world than in Europe I would say. Although in Europe, some believe we are the only one been attacked by the so-called Islamic State or IS and other jihadist.

“This is why we all have to join forces and support those countries that are in the first line of the battle against terrorism. My visit here is a part of an effort to increase the relationship between Nigeria and Italy on different levels-institutional first. But institutions can open the part to have a kind of relations like cultural, business and so on.”

  

Bala Usman: Buhari Has Fulfilled His Promise on Chibok Girls

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has stated that with the release of a total of 105 of the Chibok girls, President Muhammadu Buhari has fulfilled his promise.

Speaking yesterday on Arise Television, a sister broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, the NPA boss noted that President Buhari had stated that the countdown to the end of Boko Haram was hinged on the rescue of the Chibok girls.

“The government has been able to recue this number and has fulfilled its promise. It has worked the talk. He has seen to the release of 105 girls. This is very, very exciting,” she said.

Bala Usman who spoke on the three-year anniversary of the kidnap of the Chibok girls, said the latest release of 82 girls was a welcome development.

Responding to a question on why all the girls were not released, she said: “I think it has to do with the negotiation and the handover of the girls, but indeed it is very exciting and we should commend this government for being able to rescue 105 so far.”

“It is a very exciting development to be able to see a government committed and working the talk to rescue this number of girls. Their parents will be excited. At least we can see that this government is working the talk and is able to deliver as promised,” she added.

She said the government had shown a lot of commitment and had fulfilled its promise of rescuing the girls, stressing that their parents are looking forward to meeting them.

The NPA boss said with this development, the president had confirmed that the rescue of the Chibok girls would mark the end of the insurgency.

She added that some of the parents of the Chibok girls are excited that this government is delivering on its promise.

  Rescue Remaining 113 Girls, BBOG Tells FG

Following the release of 82 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram insurgents, a member of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) and the Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, International Crisis Centre, Mrs. Ayo Obe, has called on the federal government to do all within its powers to free the remaining 113 girls still being held by the insurgents.

But Obe said until the remaining 113 are freed, the minds of Nigerians will not be at rest, adding that all the girls should be accounted for and brought back alive.

Speaking on Arise Television last night, she said: “Even though there are reports that some of the girls are unwilling to come along with the 82 freed girls because they may have been radicalised, the government should not be discouraged. It should rather do its best to recover them. When they have been recovered, deradicalised and no longer under coercion, that’s only when they can be judged by their action.

“For now, they all should be freed and reunited with their families. Government owes its citizens a duty of security. It is government’s duty to free the girls. Though we have passed the half way mark. What we need to understand is there are still 113 unaccounted Chibok girls out there,” she added.

She said government should do its best to see that the 82 freed girls were given full rehabilitation so that they can be reintegrated into the society.

When asked by if she was concerned that Boko Haram commanders were being released in exchange of the freed Chibok girls,  Obe said: “I think for now, let us put ourselves in the shoes of the parents of the kidnapped girls. Having known what the terrorists are capable of doing, I would rather the girls are released irrespective. We haven’t been able to free them by military might, so this poses a viable alternative.

She also called on the government and stakeholders to provide security in both public and private schools.

APC Hails Schoolgirls’ Return

  

The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday said it received the news of the release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls with great joy.

The party therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to be steadfast in his commitment to ensure the release of all the Chibok girls as well as others being held captive by the terrorists.

In a statement issued yesterday by APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party described the feat as yet another evidence that President Buhari is fulfilling his promises.

“The party particularly commends President Buhari for his tenacity and dedication in ensuring the safe return of the Chibok girls who were abducted in 2014.

“This is further proof that we have a president who is working the talk. Nigerians will recall that last year, government secured the release of 20 girls. The APC also wishes to express its profound gratitude to all security organisations and international agencies that have played various roles to secure the release of the Chibok schoolgirls,” it stated.

The party hailed the girls for their bravery “having survived the very harrowing experiences in the past three years, and their parents and families who have endured the nervy and traumatic wait for their children.

“We assure you of the government resolve to give comprehensive medical attention to the released schoolgirls and ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration into the society.

“For parents and families whose children remain in captivity, we urge them to take solace with fact that government is doing everything possible to ensure the safe return of the remaining schoolgirls.

  

Makarfi PDP Condemns Release of Boko Haram Suspects in Exchange for Chibok Girls

The Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the decision by the Nigerian government to swap Boko Haram prisoners with some of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

About 82 of the girls, who were abducted from their school in April 2014, were released at the weekend as part of a prisoner swap that saw the release of some Boko Haram suspects.

While local and international rights groups like Amnesty International and BringBackOurGirls have commended the move, the opposition party said though the release of the girls was good, freeing the terror suspects was bad.

The Makarfi faction of PDP in a statement by its spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, said the suspected terrorists by this release have escaped justice; and “all the efforts made by security agencies to bring them to book has come to nothing”.

The party, according to Premium Times, also said “the negotiations are in clear violation and indeed a direct assault on the generally accepted international principle never to negotiate with terrorists.”