On Third Anniversary, Buhari Restates Pledge To Rescue Chibok Girls
By Omololu Ogunmade
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday encouraged the parents of the remaining female pupils of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State who were abducted on April 14, 2014 by Boko Haram insurgents not to lose hope, saying as a parent, “I feel what you feel”.
Buhari in a message he personally signed in commemoration of the third year anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls on Friday, further encouraged the parents to keep faith with the federal government in its continuous negotiations for their release, pointing out that the government was “willing to bend over backwards” to secure their freedom.
He disclosed that the government had reached out to the girls’ captors through local and international intermediaries, adding that the government was ready to do everything within its power to secure the release of the girls.
He also said he had faith in God that in no distant time, the current efforts of the government for the girls’ release would yield the desired results and appealed to well-meaning Nigerians, organisations and the international community to bear in mind that “as a government, we are unrelenting on the issue of the safe return of our children”.
Buhari, who recalled the release of 21 of the 276 girls abducted last year through negotiations, added that the government was doing everything within its powers to integrate the released girls into the society while it is also “in constant touch through negotiations, through local intelligence to secure the release of the remaining girls and other abducted persons unharmed”.
He said having demonstrated their competence in the war against terrorism, he was sure that the intelligence and security forces were not only capable but also committed to the task of finding and bringing back the Chibok girls and other victims of Boko Haram insurgents.
“On the Chibok girls, we have had reason to celebrate the return of twenty-four of them and thousands of other Nigerians who were forcibly abducted by the terrorists.
“As a parent, I am eternally grateful to God that some of the girls were found alive and have been reunited with their families. Government is doing all within its powers to reintegrate the freed girls to normal life.
“Furthermore, government is in constant touch through negotiations, through local intelligence to secure the release of the remaining girls and other abducted persons unharmed.
“My special appreciation goes to the parents and families that have endured three years of agony and waiting for the return of their children. I feel what you feel. Your children are my children.
“On this solemn occasion, my appeal is that we must not lose hope on the return of our remaining schoolgirls. Our intelligence and security forces, who have aptly demonstrated their competence are very much equal to the task and absolutely committed to the efforts to find and return the schoolgirls and others abducted by Boko Haram.
“I also thank Lake Chad Basin countries, friendly nations and international partners who at various points in the last three years have offered their support for Nigeria.
“Like I have repeatedly said, the federal government is willing to bend over backwards to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls.
“We have reached out to their captors, through local and international intermediaries, and we are ever ready to do everything within our means to ensure the safe release of all the girls,” Buhari said.
Two hundred and seventy six girls were abducted from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram on April 14, 2014, leading to global outrage over their kidnapping.
Within days, 57 were able to escape captivity while two more who had become mothers, escaped separately last year. The federal government was also able to secure the release of 21 other girls in 2016 with the assistance of the Swiss government and the International Red Cross.
One hundred and ninety six girls remain in captivity.