Chris Steven, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has explained how the federal government secured the release of 21 out of the 218 abducted Chibok Secondary School girls from the custody of Boko Haram terrorists.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister disclosed that the girls were released by 5:30 am on Thursday and were flown to Kaduna from the location of their release.
His words: ” We can confirm that the DSS pursued the lead in collaboration with a friendly European country and a renowned international humanitarian organization. The DSS was supported by the military.
As soon as the necessary confidence was built on both sides, the
parties agreed on the date and the location of the release of the 21
girls. Please note that this is not a swap. It is a release, the
product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.
We see this as a credible first step in the eventual release of
all the Chibok Girls in captivity. It is also a major step in
confidence-building between us as a government and the Boko Haram
leadership on the issue of the Chibok Girls.
Gentlemen, as we have always said, we have been working on the
safe release of the girls and following all the leads available. In
this instance, the moment we had a credible lead, Mr President gave
the green-light to the DSS to pursue it.
” We can confirm that 21 of the girls were released, safely, to us
by 5.30 this Thursday morning and they were flown to Kaduna from the
location of their release.
This is the most glaring manifestation to date of the unwavering commitment of Mr. President to secure the safe release of the girls and reunite them with their families. It is also a result of the round-the-clock efforts by the Administration to put a closure to the sad issue of the kidnap of the girls.”
He said the federal government was expecting the girls to be brought to Abuja very soon adding that a team of medical experts,psychologists, social
workers, trauma experts, have been assembled to properly examine the girls, especially because they have been
in captivity for so long.
“They will also be adequately debriefed. We have the list of
the 21 girls but we are now contacting their parents as part of the necessary verification exercise. ” He said
He said that names of the girls would be released after the exercise .
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had last month at the United Nations General Assembly at the United States of America solicited for the support of international community in negotiating with the terrorists group to secure the release of the girls.