FG denies exchanging Boko Haram prisoners for 21 Chibok girls
The Federal Government has denied claims that four Boko Haram prisoners were exchanged for the twenty-one Chibok girls released on Thursday.
AFP, quoting local sources, reported that "the four Boko Haram militants were brought to Banki from Maiduguri in a military helicopter from where they were driven to Kumshe in ICRC vehicles."
But Nigeria's minister for information and culture, Lai Mohammed said the girls were released after credible lead was pursued.
"The moment we had a credible lead, Mr President gave the green-light to the DSS to pursue it," Mohammed said at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
"We can confirm that the DSS pursued the lead in collaboration with a friendly European country and a renowned international humanitarian organisation. 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 twenty-one girls were released around 5.30am on Thursday and were flown to Kaduna from the location of their release, the minister said.
They are expected to be in Abuja later today where an assembled team of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, trauma experts, would examine them.
"They will also be adequately debriefed," Mohammed said.