Chibok Girls: I’m Negotiating With Boko Haram – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in France disclosed that his administration was negotiating with members of the Boko Haram sect to secure the release of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State, in April last year.
Buhari, who was responding to questions from members of the Nigerian community in France under the auspices of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), said his administration was worried by the continued stay of the girls in the hands of their captors and had been working tirelessly to free them.
“The issue of Chibok girls has occupied our minds and because of the international attention it drew and the sympathy throughout the country and the world, the government is negotiating with some of the Boko Haram leadership,” he stated.
The President explained that government has to first establish genuine members of the sect so that it would not make the mistake of engaging the wrong persons, because “it is a very sensitive development in the sense that first, we have to establish who are they genuine leaders of the Boko Haram.
“Number two: What are their terms? The first impression we had was not very encouraging,” he added.
The President also revealed that one of the conditions given by Boko Haram was the release of one of its members who had been strategic in developing Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs), a demand that government has turned down.
“They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making Improvised IEDs that is causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing people in churches, mosque, 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 absolved in the community.
“We have to be very careful, the concern we have for the Chibok girls, one only imagine if they got a daughter there between 14 and 18 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 than the condition they imagine they are in.
“This has drawn a lot of sympathy though out the world, that is why this government is getting very hard in negotiating and getting the balance of those who are alive,” the president said.
He further assured Nigerians abroad that his administration was doing everything possible to improve on the state of the economy through provision of infrastructure in critical sectors.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had in July confirmed the willingness of government to engage the sect if they were ready.

Daily independent 
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