FG Explains Intense Efforts To Release Kidnapped Chibok Girls

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The Federal Government through the Information
and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed, explained their intense efforts to release the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram at a press conference
in Abuja Friday. Mohammed said the Federal Government is still working on the release of the girls and appealed to the parents of the Chibok
girls and Nigerians to believe in the government’s
ability to secure the release of the girls. He said:

Precisely on July 17, 2015, the DSS opened the negotiation process 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 their fighters arrested, including some involved
in major terrorist actions, resulting in.several fatalities, and others who were experts in manufacture of locally assembled explosives.

“This was difficult to accept, but appropriate security agencies had to again inform Mr. President of these demands, and its viewed
implications. Again, Mr. President gave his
assent, believing that the overall release of
these girls remains paramount and sacrosanct.

“Meanwhile, following the above development, government and the security
agencies had sufficient leverage to work
out the modalities of the swap.

“These included creating the safe haven, or necessary place of swap and working out
the logistic details. Based on this, the DSS availed other critical sister agencies of this
new situation. “Immediately, the Nigerian Army and the Air Force sent some specialists to commence a detailed
arrangement for the swap. This was during
the last week of July 2015 and 1st week of August 2015.

“The officers representing the various agencies worked out the logistic details, such as the number of persons to be
swapped i.e. number of girls and detainees to be exchanged, the vehicles and aircraft, as well as safeguards, i.e. safety of the persons, including the location of the swap.

“When it was finally agreed by all parties, Mr. President was again informed that the
preparations were concluded, and the first
step for the swap would commence on
August 1, 2015. Mr. President robustly gave
his approval.

“On August 4, 2015, the persons who were
to be part of the swap arrangements and all
others involved in the operation were
transported to Maiduguri, Borno State. This
team, with the lead facilitator, continued the
contact with the group holding the Chibok girls.

“The service was able to further prove to
the group its sincerity, as it established
communication contact between it and its
detained members. All things were in place
for the swap which was mutually agreed.
Expectations were high.

“Unfortunately, after more than two weeks
of negotiation and bargains, the group, just
at the dying moments, issued new set of
demands, never bargained for or discussed
by the group before the movement to
Maiduguri. All this while, the security agencies waited patiently. This
development stalled what would have been
the first release process of the Chibok girls.

“It may be important to note that in spite of
this setback, the government and the
security agencies have not relented in the
bid to ensure that the Chibok girls are
released safely.

“By the month of November, precisely
November 13, 2015, another fresh
negotiation process with the group was
initiated. This time, there was the need to
discuss a fresh component in other to avoid
issues that had stalled the former arrangement.

“There were, however, some problems that
many may not discern, but should be
expected in this kind of situation.

“Some critical persons within the group,
who played such vital role in August, 2015,
were discovered to be dead during combat
action or as a result of the emerging rift
amongst members of the group then. These
two factors delayed the process. In spite of these, negotiation continued on new

“By November 30, 2015, it was becoming
glaring that the division amongst the group
was more profound. This affected the swap

“By December 10, 2015, another
negotiation process was in place, but this
failed to achieve results because of the
varying demands by the group


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