President Muhammadu Buhari has identified the sharp division in the camp of Boko Haram insurgents as the stumbling blocks in the negotiations for the release of the remaining Chibok girls, abducted by them a few years ago.
The President, in a solidarity message he sent the prayers and thanksgiving services to mark the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping of the girls from the Government Girls Secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, said: “unfortunately, an ongoing crisis within the Boko Haram leadership, which has led to factions and breakaway groups, brought a number of unforeseen challenges to the process of negotiating with the militants for the young women’s release.”
President Buhari assured that the nation’s security and intelligence community are making a lot of efforts using backroom channels to get them back to their families.
“These are processes, formal and informal that involves different groups with links to the terrorists, and are very tedious and uneasy as is seen in different parts of the world.
The President gave hope that the armed forces of the country who are on general operations in the entire region will continue in their hope that they would encounter these girls, as they did thousands of other hostages, rescue and bring them back home.
“The issue of the Chibok girls is not a forgotten issue. We cannot go to sleep over this matter. We are optimistic that ongoing efforts will yield something positive,” President Buhari assured.
He recalled that in the past few years, the armed forces have recorded huge successes in the battle against Boko Haram, but that they have also been careful to ensure that as few civilian lives as possible were lost in the process. “We would rather the young women still in captivity were freed alive.”
President Buhari also reflected on the progress being made by the freed ‘Chibok girls’, who were sponsored by his administration to study at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, saying that he is proud of what they are doing.
He encouraged them to remain focused on their studies and on this unique opportunity that has been given to them by God, following their horrific time in captivity.
President Buhari commended Yakubu Nkeki, Lawan Zannah and Yana Galang, the executive officials of the Association of the Parents of the Abducted Girls from Chibok, on their steadfast efforts to advocate for the welfare of the parents, the freed women, and those still in captivity.
Buhari, who extended his good wishes to the people of Chibok, Borno State, as they hold Thanksgiving, regretted that the current coronavirus pandemic, with restrictions on movement, had made it impossible for any government delegation to be with them during the event.