The Federal Government, on Friday, released details of its efforts to secure the release of the Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted by the Boko Haram sect on April 14, 2014,these statements were first of its kind at a press release.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a press conference in Abuja, said President Muhammadu Buhari, on assumption of office, directed security agencies to locate and ensure a safe rescue of the girls.
He said that the Department of State Services on July 17, 2015 opened negotiations with the sect, which demanded the release of its bomb makers and fighters involved in major terrorist activities in the country.
The sect bombed Saint Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madala, Niger State, on December 26, 2011. In 2014, it attacked Nyanya, Abuja, twice.
Explaining the commitment of Buhari to the release of the girls, Mohammed stated that the President approved the demands of the group in spite of the implications.
The minister stated, “On July 17, 2015, the DSS opened negotiations with the group holding the Chibok girls. However, in return for the release of some of these girls, the group also made some demands. These included the release of some of its fighters arrested, including some involved in major terrorist attacks, resulting in several fatalities, and others who were experts in making locally assembled explosives.
“This was difficult to accept, but appropriate security agencies had to again inform Mr. President of these demands, and their implications. Again Mr. President gave his assent, believing that the release of the girls remains paramount.”
He said that acting on the directive of the President, security agencies, including the Army, Air Force, Navy, the police and the DSS in June 2015 commenced actions to secure the girls’ release.
According to him, the DSS in the same month established a special unit to review previous actions carried out to secure the release of the girls and establish reasons for the failure of such efforts.