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Government using other means to secure Chibok girls’ release, says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that his administration was using backroom channels to secure the release of the Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorist elements in 2014.

In his goodwill message to the people of Borno State as they mark the sixth anniversary of their kidnapped daughters, he said: “The nation’s security and intelligence community, in whom a lot of hope is reposed in rescuing the abducted girls, is making a lot of efforts using backroom channels to get them back to their families.

“These are processes, formal and informal that involve different groups with links to the terrorists, and are very tedious and uneasy as is seen in different parts of the world.”

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In a statement yesterday, the president regretted that the restrictions on movement occasioned by the novel coronavirus had made it impossible for a government delegation to be with them during the event.

He, however, assured the people that he was still mindful of their welfare and concerns, especially their daughters who were still missing.

On the remaining girls in captivity, Buhari noted the ongoing efforts on two fronts: “The armed forces of the country, who are on general operations in the entire region continue in their hope that they would encounter these girls, as they did thousands of other hostages, rescue and bring them back home.

“The issue of the Chibok girls is not a forgotten issue. We cannot go to sleep over this matter. We are optimistic that ongoing efforts will yield something positive.

“Unfortunately, an ongoing crisis within the Boko Haram leadership, which has led to factions and breakaway groups, brought a number of unforeseen challenges to the process of negotiating with the militants for the young women’s release.

“In the past few years, our armed forces have recorded huge successes in the battle against Boko Haram, but they have also been careful to ensure that as few civilian lives as possible were lost in the process. We would rather the young women still in captivity were freed alive.”

Buhari also reflected on the progress being made by the freed ‘Chibok girls’, who were sponsored by his administration to study at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, saying he was proud of what they were doing.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president encouraged them to remain focused in their studies.

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