The fifth year anniversary of the abduction of over 200 students from Chibok community in Borno State has compelled the Federal Government to disclose how far it has gone with releasing the lone school girl, Leah Sharibu, who hails from Dapchi in Yobe state.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a statement on Saturday, explained that concerning Sharibu’s abduction, the interlocutors have reported encouraging progress so far.
He said the report reaching the presidency indicates that her return to her family has unfortunately been hindered by the fear of the militants.
According to Shehu, her abductors were worry that heavy military presence in areas where they previously moved about freely could affect their safety after they return her to the government.
He however explained that the military cannot jeopardise the security of the entire north-eastern region by halting their operations to accommodate Boko Haram’s fears.
He assured that Leah Sharibu will be reunited with her family as soon as any conclusions are reached on a number of options being considered for her safe transportation.
On the remaining Chibok school girls under captivity, the Presidential spokesperson said the federal government would like to remind the parents of the school girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State that it has not forgotten their daughters who were kidnapped from their dormitory five years ago (April 14, 2014).
Shehu said President Muhammadu Buhari promised the parents when he met them, at the beginning of his first term as president, that he would bring their daughters home.
“He is aware that this promise he made is the main reason the people of Chibok voted overwhelmingly for him in the February elections, and although his government has so far succeeded in bringing back 107 of the girls, the President will not rest until the remaining are reunited with their families.
“President Buhari assures the parents that his administration is still on the matter.
“Diverse efforts are being intensified to secure the release of the Chibok Girls, along with all hostages in Boko Haram captivity, including Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped from her school, Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018, “the Presidential spokesman said.
He said the success of the Nigerian military in subduing Boko Haram is evidenced by the large numbers of militants who have surrendered recently, especially in neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.
He equally disclosed that a similar mass surrender of militants is expected to happen soon in Nigeria.
“While Nigerian military operations are ongoing, the government is also engaging with the militants but the talks have been affected by the factionalisation of Boko Haram – with one group adopting a hard line attitude and intensifying attacks on Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, and another group engaging with the government for peaceful resolution, “he stated.
President Buhari also used the opportunity of the commemoration of the Chibok tragedy to commend the girls, now women, who have triumphed over it all.
He sent special greetings to the 106 girls sponsored by the Nigerian government to continue their studies at the American University of Nigeria, Yola.
He also encouraged them to stay focused on becoming women who will inspire girls in Nigeria and around the world to triumph over the daily battles they face in a world that is often unfair to the girl-child.
President Buhari also extends his best wishes to Chibok girls in other schools in Nigeria and around the world.
He sends special congratulations to Kauna Yaga Bitrus, who has excelled beyond expectations in her college in Maine, USA, and who is soon to receive a special ‘Against All Odds Award’ from her school.
The Bring Back Our Girls BBOG movement recently renewed calls for the federal government to launch a national missing persons’ register.
The demand was in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok school girls by terrorists in April 2014.