Wednesday, September 16

We are currently negotiating with Boko Haram - Buhari

We are currently negotiating with Boko Haram - Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the Federal Government had begun negotiations with members of the Boko Haram sect to secure the release of the Chibok girls.

The President disclosed this while responding to questions from members of the Nigerian community in France under the aegis of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation.

Buhari said that he was worried by the continued stay of the girls in the camps of Boko Haram since April 14, 2014 when they were abducted by Boko Haram fighters.

The President noted that the incident had attracted global attention and sympathy within Nigeria, adding that his government could not fold its arms.

“The issue of Chibok girls has occupied our minds and because of the international attention it drew and the sympathy throughout the the world. The government is negotiating with some of the Boko Haram leadership,” he stated.

According to him, government has to first establish genuine members of the sect so that it will not make the mistake of engaging the wrong persons.

Buhari said, “It is a very sensitive development in the sense that first we have to establish whether they genuine leaders of Boko Haram? That is number one. Number two, what are their terms, the first impression we had was not very encouraging.”

The President said one of the conditions given by Boko Haram sect was to release one of its members who was developing Improvised Explosives Devices.

He, however, said that his government rejected the demand.

Buhari stated, “They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making IEDs that is causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing people in churches, mosques, market places, motor parks and other places. But it is very important that if we are going to talk to anybody, we have to know how much he is worth.

“Let them bring all the girls and then, we will be prepared to negotiate, I will allow them to come back to Nigeria or to be absorbed into the community. We have to be very careful, the concern we have for the Chibok girls, one can only imagine having a daughter who is between 14 and 18 years there for more than one and a half years. A lot of the parents who have died would have preferred to see the graves of their daughters to the condition they imagined they were in.”

According to him, the kidnap of the girls has drawn a lot of sympathy throughout the world. This, he said, was the reason government was negotiating for the release of the girls.

President Buhari assured Nigerians in the Diaspora that his administration was doing everything possible to improve the economy through provision of infrastructure in critical sectors.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had in July confirmed the willingness of the Federal Government to negotiate with the sect.

Adesina, who lamented that the insurgents, killed many people, said the Federal Government would not rule out negotiations with the sect, if it would lead to the end of terrorism.

The Nigerian Army spokesman Col. Sani Usman, a few days ago, said that members of the terror group were surrendering “en masse.”

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