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Chibok girls: Buhari says FG still open to dialogue with Boko Haram

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This video grab image created on August 14, 2016 taken from a video released on youtube purportedly by Islamist group Boko Haram showing what is claimed to be one of the groups fighters at an undisclosed location standing in front of girls allegedly kidnapped from Chibok in April 2014. Boko Haram on August 14, 2016 released a video of the girls allegedly kidnapped from Chibok in April 2014, showing some who are still alive and claiming others died in air strikes. The video is the latest release from embattled Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who earlier this month denied claims that he had been replaced as the leader of the jihadist group. PHOTO: AFP / BOKO HARAM

This video grab image created on August 14, 2016 taken from a video released on youtube purportedly by Islamist group Boko Haram showing what is claimed to be one of the groups fighters at an undisclosed location standing in front of girls allegedly kidnapped from Chibok in April 2014. PHOTO: AFP / BOKO HARAM

President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that his government was still open to negotiating the release of the Chibok Girls but only with genuine leaders of their abductors.

The girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok town, on April 14, 2014, by the terror group, Boko Haram.

‘‘I have made a couple of comments on the Chibok girls and it seems to me that much of it has been politicised, Buhari said during an interview with journalists in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was attending the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

‘‘What we said is that the government which I preside over is prepared to talk to bonafide leaders of Boko Haram.

‘‘If they do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognised Non-Governmental Organisation to convince them that they are holding the girls and that they want Nigeria to release a number of Boko Haram leaders in detention, which they are supposed to know.”

‘‘If they do it through the ‘modified leadership’ of Boko Haram and they talk with an internationally recognised NGO then Nigeria will be prepared to discuss for their release,’’ he said.

The president said the government was committed to securing the release of the girls but would only act if sources who claim to know the whereabouts of the girls were credible.

Buhari has been criticised in the last few days for not securing the release of the girls. A leader of the Bring Back Our Girls movement and former minister of education accused President Buhari of being “laid back on Chibok Girls”.

“President Buhari cannot be saying “lack of credible intelligence” without stating what the “END-GAME” is. Will it be an OPEN ENDED CASE?” she tweeted on Saturday.

But the president acknowledged that reuniting the girls with their families was a matter to be prioritised by his.

‘‘We want those girls out and safe. The faster we can recover them and hand them over to their parents, the better for us,” he said.


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