Intricacies: How DSS handled the release
Daura said insurgents’ only condition was for a temporary ceasefire to enable them return the girls The Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Lawal Daura, on Friday, March 23, said the SSS followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to secure a peaceful and timely release of the Dapchi girls from their abductors. Premium Times reports that Daura, who spoke when President Buhari received the schoolgirls at the State House presidential villa Abuja, said there was an intense behind-the-scene dailogue led by the Department of State Service to secure the release of the girls. 105 girls abducted from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe state, were returned to the entre of the village by their abductors in the early hours of Wednesday, March 21. Daura, while speaking on the negotiation that led to the release said the insurgents’ only condition was their demands for cessation of hostilities and temporary ceasefire to enable them return the girls at the point they picked them.
“The exercise was arduous and quite challenging. The sensitivity of the operation and some uncertainties surrounding it, particularly routes to be used, nature of transportation, realization and concern that the girls were not kept at one place, issues of encountering military checkpoints within the theater and indeed keeping the operation on strictly the principle of need-to-know made the whole exercise more complicating.” Daura said the negotiation was necessary not only for the girls release but also to seure a permanent and possible cessation of hostilities. Other interests, he said, include discussing the fate of the arrested insurgents and innocent Nigerian citizens being held hostage and the possibility of granting amnesty to repentant insurgents. He said these factors “presently seem problematic because the insurgents are factionalized while holding various spheres of influence in their guerrilla controlled enclaves”. He said: “The negative impact of social media on otherwise classified operations, and of course, some of the utterances of the government functionaries who were not competent to comment on the issues, posed challenges that almost marred the rescue efforts.” Daura also spoke about the physical and mental welfare of the girls after their release. He said: “As such, they are given psychological mental evaluation conducted by trained specialists. About four (4) were discovered to have broken limbs and were sent for X-Ray. “Almost all of them had one skin infection or the other having not taken bath for over a month. They have been medically examined, and those with ailments were treated. The measures are to ensure that they are in good health.” PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 news app Daura said: “Six more Dapchi girls are yet to be accounted for, and dialogue on these students is still on-going.” NAIJ.com earlier reported that the Yobe state police command has denied media reports that they were informed hours before the abduction of over 100 girls in Dapchi community by Boko Haram terrorists. In a statement sent to newsmen by the commissioner of police in the state, Sunmonu Abdulmaliki, the command also denied reports that their men took their heels when the terrorists struck.
Get Christian girl out quick, Muslim group urges Buhari, hails courage of the believer
The federal government has been asked by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) group to return to the negotiation table in order to secure the release of Liya Sharibu, the only Christian among the 110 girls who were abducted from the school in Dapchi, according to media reports. The appeal was made by the group’s director, Ishaq Akintola, on Thursday, March 22, following the release of 104 girls.
Akintola chided the insurgent group for not releasing Sharibu, describing the move as ‘faulty and un-Islamic’. According to the director, the decision to hold on to Sharibu was a ploy by Boko Haram to divide Nigeria.
He stated: “We reject Boko Haram as an Islamic group. We urge the leadership and members of the group to re-examine its ideological base. Liya Sharibu must be set free because the basis for holding her after setting her schoolmates free is faulty and un-Islamic. We charge FG to go back to the negotiation table in order to secure the release of the only Christian girl among the Dapchi girls who is being held back by the insurgents. FG should note that Boko Haram is not as daft as many people think. By withholding the Christian girl, they seek to divide Nigerians once again along religious lines.”
MURIC also lauded Sharibu for her courage in refusing to bow to pressure in violation of her fundamental human right. It continued: “Our hearts are heavy with grief over her plight. We salute her courage. Shame on Boko Haram for oppressing a lone, vulnerable and helpless girl! Shame on all those who suppress freedom of worship! We appeal to Nigerians to invoke special prayers in the mosques and churches for this Christian girl who had the courage to stare her oppressors in the face. We should also continue to pray for the remaining Chibok girls.”
True to DSS hints, Buhari ready to offer amnesty to repentant BH members
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday expressed his readiness to offer amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect that are willing to drop their arms and embrace peace. The DSS had earlier given hints that amnesty was part of the negotiations to free the Dapchi girls.
The President stated this while receiving the recently released students of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He declared that the government is ready to rehabilitate the repentant Boko Haram fighters back to the society and warned politicians politicizing security issues saying the situation would no longer be tolerated.
The President also warned security agencies against any laxity in the discharge of their duties saying those involved in such laxity would be sanctioned appropriately.
Buhari receives the freed girls and one boy
Reports from inside the Villa in Abuja reveal that President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received 106 released Dapchi schoolgirls and one boy at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting with the girls started few minutes past 12 noon when the President arrived the Council Chamber Press Gallery at the State House.
The girls who regained their freedom on Wednesday were airlifted to Abuja the same day, aboard a military plane from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital after being handed over to the Federal Government by the military there.
Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas, handed over the freed girls to a four-member Federal Government delegation that evening.
The delegation comprised of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Danbazzau; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim; and a member of the House of Representatives, Goni Lawan Bukar, from Dapchi.
Of the 110 girls snatched by Boko Haram on February 19, the Federal Government said 104 were returned by the terrorists with six unaccounted for.
The girls’ parents are also attending the meeting holding inside the Press Gallery of the Presidential Villa’s Council Chambers.
Some top government officials and security chiefs joined Buhari at the meeting.
Boko Haram has kidnapped over 4000 girls, use some as suicide bombers – UN
The United Nations (UN) has noted that Boko Haram fighters have stepped up the use of women and girls for suicide bombings and have so far abducted more than 4,000 women and girls.
According to the UN deputy chief, Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed, those who return to their communities are often stigmatised.
As the violation of human rights continues to fuel insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin region, Mohammed said investing in community justice mechanisms would be essential for reconciliation, as well as for ensuring accountability and promoting peace.
She stressed the need to incorporate human rights and gender dimensions into activities aimed at countering terrorism or preventing violent extremism.
She said the increase in Boko Haram’s use of women and girls as suicide bombers could be due to a lack of women security officers who could search other women at checkpoints.
The UN deputy scribe also called for more international action to support children affected by the upheaval in the region.
The United Nations (UN) has noted that Boko Haram fighters have stepped up the use of women and girls for suicide bombings.
Noting a progress in the war against the jihadist by the four countries of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, the UN however noted that children were deployed in 135 attacks by the group in 2017 – a five-fold increase over the previous year.
Therefore, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, said it was critical to shore up areas of Lake Chad Basin that have been freed from the grip of Boko Haram terrorists.
EU applauds Buhari
Some Nigerians are doubting the authenticity of the abduction and release of the Dapchi girls but the European Union on Friday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of the abducted schoolgirls.
The EU, in a statement by its Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ray, expressed relief over the release.
The union therefore called for the liberation of other girls in the custody of the Boko Haram
“It is with great relief that we learnt about the release of the majority of the abducted Dapchi girls in Nigeria. They can now return to their families and have the opportunity to rebuild their lives. We express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the girls that lost their lives.
“We renew our solidarity with all the girls still held captive and call for their liberation,” it stated.
The EU called on the Federal Government to ensure that urgent measures are taken to avoid repeated abductions and violence.
“All young people have a right to safe education and the EU will work with Nigeria in supporting efforts to secure this objective,” it stated.