Friday, March 23, 2018 10:24 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received the 107 Dapchi girls released by Boko Haram abductors in February, saying that the Federal Government was ready to rehabilitate and integrate repentant terrorist into the larger society.
Speaking at a reception organized for the girls and two boys freed by the insurgents in the State House on Wednesday, the President appealed to the parents of the Chibok Girls earlier abducted and yet to be released not to lose hope as efforts were being intensified to get them released.
“While further effort is being made to secure the release of every abducted student in Nigeria, government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by any member of the Boko Haram, who shows strong commitment in that regard.
“We are ready to rehabilitate and reintegrate such repentant members into the larger society.
“This country has suffered enough hostility; government is, therefore appealing to all to embrace peace for the overall development of our people and the country.’’
Buhari also warned Nigerians against making unguarded utterances that could endanger the security of the country, saying that such would be firmly resisted.
“May I also warn those elements, who have chosen to make political fortune out of our citizen’s misfortune.
“Government will not tolerate any attempt by any person or any group to trivialize political issues for politically-motivated ends.
“Accordingly, security agencies will not hesitate to deal with such unscrupulous characters.’’
According to the President, the administration went into negotiations with Boko Haram solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt adding that the strategy paid off as the girls were being released without many incidents.
The President emphasized the administration’s determination to fight terrorism and insurgency and called on all Nigerians to join in the task.
He said that security services had since been directed to put in measures around all schools vulnerable to attack to ensure the security of students, teachers and school workers.
Accordingly he said that he had tasked all the security agencies to work to ensure that the country did not witness any recurrence of any of the incidents.
“Security chiefs have been warned in clear terms that any lapse on their part will be viewed seriously,’’ he said.
He promised the released students that they would freely live and pursue their dreams in the country of peace and order without fear, violence or molestation.
“While parents of Dapchi girls rejoice because of the reunion with their children, I want to appeal to the Chibok community never to lose hope or to despair.
“We are determined more than ever before to bring back our remaining Chibok daughters and this we must accomplish and that will be soon by God’s grace,’’ he said.
He reaffirmed that security, anti- corruption and rebuilding of the economy were the main trust of the administration and noted that security would remain paramount in the country.
The President thanked the security operatives and international partners who made the release of the students possible.
Earlier, the DG of Department of Security Services, Mr Lawal Daura, said that 105 of the 111 female students abducted from the Government Girls Science Technical College Dapchi were released following painstaking, back channel dialogue, with the abductors.
He said that in company of the girls were two primary school pupils aged 11 and 13 years also abducted by the Boko Haram but released alongside the Dapchi girls.
According to him, the remaining six Dapchi girls had yet to be accounted for but dialogue on them was ongoing.
He said that the insurgents only condition was their demand was cessation of hostilities and temporary ceasefire to enable them to return the girls at the point they were picked.
He said that the victims were sent to a medical facility for check and mental stability where four were found to have broken limbs and virtually all had skin rashes caused by not taking their bath for the period of the abduction.
Daura said that the freed students were medically examined and those with ailments treated.
He suggested that efforts be sustained to secure the release of all abducted persons in the Boko Haram enclave, improve strategic plan to secure all schools in vulnerable locations using all national assets, and improve the coordination efforts of security agents to forestall future incidents.
He also suggested the expansion of the on-going dialogue toward conflict resolution and mitigation with a view to getting everlasting peace in the entire region.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the freed students, Fatima Bashir, on behalf of the others thanked Buhari for saving their lives and bringing them out of captivity.
She also prayed God to bless the President.