BY Abena Agyeman-Fisher, 8:54am September 16, 2015,

Buhari Reveals He Is Negotiating Release of Chibok Girls

Buhari Reveals He Is Negotiating Release of Chibok Girls

While making the last rounds of his state visit to France, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (pictured) revealed that his administration is in talks with Boko Haram to release the Chibok girls, reports Sahara Reporters.

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Speaking to members of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization (NIDO) this week, President Buhari admitted that his government is attempting to negotiate the release of the missing girls who were abducted in April 2014 as they wrote exams at the Government Secondary School in Chibok.

For President Buhari, the first step in negotiations is verifying that the individuals they are dealing with are legitimate leaders of the terrorist organization who now refer to themselves as the West Africa Province after joining the Islamic State and are responsible for killing more than 17,000 people since 2009.

“The government is negotiating with some of Boko Haram’s leadership,” said President Buhari.

“It is a very sensitive development in the sense that first we have to establish who are the genuine leaders of the Boko Haram. That is No. 1.”

But negotiations are already off to a rocky start.

According to the Head of State, Boko Haram is demanding the release of a nefarious terrorist who had been “causing a lot of havoc in the country” in exchange for the girls.

“No. 2, what are their terms? The first impression we had was not very encouraging. They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making [Improvised Explosive Devices] IEDs, which have been causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing up people in churches, mosques, marketplaces, motor parks, and other places,” President Buhari said.

“But it is very important that if we are going to talk to anybody, we have to know how much he is worth.”

Even in this challenging predicament, though, President Buhari insisted he is still willing to negotiate and aired the fears of family members as to the current state of the Chibok girls who have been held in captivity for more than 500 days.

“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 in to the community.

“We have to be very careful; the concern we have for the Chibok girls, one only imagines if they got a daughter there between 14 and 18 years and for more than one and a half years, a lot of the parents who have died would rather see the graves of their daughters rather the condition they imagine they were in.”

Finally, President Buhari explained that the international concern for the missing girls is part of the reason this issue remains a priority of his administration.

“[The girls’ abduction] has drawn a lot of sympathy throughout the world; that is why this government is getting very hard in negotiating and getting the balance of those who are alive.”

A Blow to His Presidency

Last October, then-President Goodluck Jonathan‘s administration announced that they had negotiated with Boko Haram for the schoolgirls’ release.

At the time, Presidential Aide Hassan Tukur said, “They’ve assured us they have the girls and they will release them,” he said. “I am cautiously optimistic.”

And Government Spokesman Mike Omeri said, “We are inching closer to release of all groups in captivity, including the Chibok girls.”

But the girls would never be released, and the alleged unilateral ceasefire would be violated just days later, when Boko Haram killed more people.

The failed negotiations further marred President Jonathan’s reputation and authority, leading to his decisive loss to President Buhari in March.

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Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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