Thursday, October 13, 2016 5:46 pm
Nigerians have commended the Federal Government over the release of 21 Chibok schoolgirls by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The citizens told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday that the release of the girls had raised hope that the rest of the school girls still in captivity would also be released.
Dr Khalifa Dikwa, a Security analyst, said the use of international organisations such as the International Red Cross and Swiss Government to negotiate the release of the girls had “knocked out any political tone’’ in the arrangement.
Dikwa, a former lecturer with the University of Maiduguri, also commended the Nigerian troops for their professionalism in degrading and decimating the insurgents to the extent that they could no longer move freely.
“The terrorists cannot move as it was the case in the past when they were moving from one point to another , to destroy and kill, and retreat.
“That is to say that the Nigerian Armed Forces are now complete professionals, no politics,’’ he said.
Similarly, the BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) described the release of the 21 Chibok schoolgirls as “a wonderful development’’.
In a statement issued on its behalf by Aisha Yesufu and Oby Ezekwesili, the group urged the Federal Government to ensure safety and well being of the remaining girls still in captivity.
“This wonderful development confirms what we have always known about the capacity of our government to rescue our Chibok girls.
“While awaiting further details, we take this opportunity to salute the work of our security services in the front lines – the commitment, resilience and tireless efforts of our members of the Multi-national Joint Task Force and the civilian JTF.
“We also thank the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Swiss government and all negotiators involved in securing the release.
“We further urge the international community to continue to support our government’s effort to rescue all other abducted Nigerians, so that parents, the Chibok community, the nation, and the world can finally put an end to this nightmare once and for all,’’ the group said.
Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity had on Thursday in a statement announced the release of the girls.
Shehu said that the release of the girls was the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram.
He said that the negotiation was brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government.
“The negotiations will continue.
“The President welcomes the release of the girls but cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that more than 30,000 fellow citizens were killed via terrorism.
The residents of Bauchi have also lauded the Federal Government over the release of the 21 school girls.
They told NAN that the cheering news had raised their hopes on the possibility of freeing the remaining girls still in captivity.
Mrs Amina Ahmed, Coordinator of Iqra Foundation for Women and Youth Development, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), described the release of the girls as a welcome development.
She, however, advised that the girls should undergo thorough psychological orientation in view of the trauma they had experienced in the hands of the insurgents.
Ahmed, who is a Senior Magistrate with the Bauchi State Judiciary, also prayed for the release of the remaining girls.
Mrs Jummai Bello, Managing Director of Bauchi Radio Corporation , commended security agents for their efforts and urged them to continue the good work.
“As a mother, I feel very happy today and will pray for the release of the remaining girls,” Jummai said.
Some residents of Dutse in Jigawa, also hailed the release of the girls.
Malam Shuaibu Aliyu, a civil servant, said: ” I commend the federal government for ensuring the release of these girls alive”.
“The gesture will further make the Boko Haram sect to trust the Nigerian Government, while negotiating for the release of more of the girls in future.
According to him, “the sincerity of the government will also convince the sect to lay down their arms and eventually benefit from its amnesty programme.
“This, if sustained, will help in making the sect to eventually lay down their arms and embrace peace, just like the Niger Delta militants,” Aliyu said.
Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), equally commended the government for the release of the girls, although she said that 21 out of over 200 girls, was still few.
Akiyode-Afolabi urged the government to provide immediate psyco-social support for the girls and ensure that they were reintegrated into the society.
“Nigerian government is commended for the efforts at bringing our girls back,
“Having said that, we still expect more. Twenty one out of over 200 is still few. We will continue to make demands until they are all returned, ” she said.
Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise Initiative, said further dialogue and meaningful negotiations that could lead to the safe return of the remaining girls should be intensified..
“The Women Arise commends the Federal Government for its untiring efforts at ensuring the release of the abducted Chibok girls, who have been in the captivity of the Boko Haram insurgents for over two years.
“While we appreciate the efforts and the gain so far made, we are still of the opinion that further dialogue and meaningful negotiations will lead to the safe return of the remaining girls.
Some residents of Damaturu in Yobe, also commended the Federal Government for securing the release of the 21 Chibok schoolgirls.
Alhaji Halilu Sani, a parent, said “Although, we don’t have the details of what led to the release, we believe government was instrumental to their release.
“This news brings hope that all the girls will be released to reunite with their families,” he said.
Mohammed Usman, a civil servant, said the release of the girls also brought hope that insurgency might soon end.
Hajiya Rakiya Musa, a mother of four, said she was overwhelmed by the breaking news of release of the girls.
“You may not appreciate what it means as a mother to have your daughter abducted, l am overjoyed and pray for the release of the other girls,”she said.
An Akure-based legal practitioner, Yemi Salau, said that the release of the girls had added more “glamour and colour’’ to the Buhari Administration.
Salau also said that the release showed that nothing could be achieved by force but through negotiation and dialogue.
He urged the Federal Government to listen to more aggrieved groups in the country, adding that, that was the essence of democracy.
Salau also advised government to intensify efforts to rescue the remaining girls still in the captivity of the insurgents. (NAN)