Thursday, October 13, 2016 3:58 pm
There was no swap of any Boko Haram prisoner for the 21 Chibok girls released by the insurgent group early Thursday morning, the Federal Government has said.
This was contrary to reports which indicated that four Boko Haram commanders in government custody were swapped with the Chibok schoolgirls.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture told journalists at a press conference held in Abuja soon after the news of the release of the 21 of the over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014 that no prisoner was exchanged for the girls.
According to him, the release of the girls was a culmination of efforts to free the Chibok schoolgirls led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“ 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 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.
The Minister added that the release of the 21 girls “as a credible first step in the eventual release of all the Chibok Girls in captivity as well “as also a major step in confidence-building between us as a government and the Boko Haram leadership on the issue of the Chibok Girls.
Mohammed added that the release of the girls was “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 also said government has assembled a team of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, trauma experts, etc to properly examine the girls in Abuja since they have been in captivity for so long. He added that the girls will also adequately debriefed while their parents are been contacted as part of the necessary verification exercise.
He added that the names of the girls will be released to the public after the conclusion of the process.