President Muhammadu Buhari has narrated how he tasked all the appropriate security agencies to safely bring back Dapchi school girls who were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on February 19 this year.
“We also reached out to our contacts at home and abroad. We embarked on back-channel shuttles with a clear view to bringing to an end this tragedy.
“We entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls have been released without any incidents.”
The President spoke today, Friday, when he formally received 107 Dapchi students previously abducted by Boko Haram who he said were “unconditionally released by their abductors.”
Buhari said that he had never been in doubt about the focus and direction of his Administration since his assumption of office, saying that security, anti-corruption and revamping of the nation’s economy are the main focus of his government.
“You will recall that on 14th of this month, I paid a visit to Yobe State during which I sympathized with the parents, families, Government and people of the State for the tragic abduction of the students in Dapchi.
“I made a solemn pledge on my word of honour that this Administration would do everything possible to ensure the unconditional release of the girls.”
President Buhari use the opportunity to emphasize his Administration’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and insurgency, even as he called on all Nigerians to join in this task.
“The security services have since been directed to put in place further measures around all schools vulnerable to attacks to ensure the safety of our pupils/students and teachers and school workers.
“I have tasked all the security agencies to work to ensure that we do not witness any recurrence of these incidents. Security Chiefs have been warned in clear terms that any lapse on their part will be viewed seriously.
“To the rescued students, we want to reassure you as our daughters, that you will freely live and pursue your dreams in Nigeria of peace and order, without fear of violence or molestation.
“While parents of the 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 as never before, to bring back our remaining Chibok daughters. And this, we must accomplish. And that will be soon by God’s grace.
“While further efforts are being made to secure the release of every abducted citizen in Nigeria, Government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by members of the Boko Haram group, who show strong commitment in this regard. We are ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repentant members into the larger society.
“This country has suffered enough of hostility. Government is, therefore, appealing to all to embrace peace for the overall development of our people and the country.”
The President warned politicians and other negative elements who have chosen to make political fortune of the citizens’ misfortune that his government would not tolerate any attempt by any person or group to trivialize or politicize security issues for politically motivated ends.
He said that security agencies would not hesitate to decisively deal with such unscrupulous characters even as he thanked all Nigerians, “who in spite of political differences, prayed and showed solidarity with families of the abducted students, during the period of the captivity.
“This, undoubtedly, is the Nigerian spirit. We can and should sustain it beyond moments of sorrow. I remain thankful to the International Community and our friends who offered varying degrees of assistance during the back-channel communications.”
The President also extended appreciation to the security agencies for their loyal and tireless efforts in making this day a reality. [myad]