Buhari President meets Dapchi Girls, says 107 were released

The president met with the girls in the Presidential Villa after they were released two days ago.

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Buhari threatens to deal with anyone politicising security issues play

Released Dapchi schoolgirls in the Presidential Villa

(Facebook/Lauretta Onochie)
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President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Dapchi schoolgirls, who were released by Boko Haram terrorists days ago, in the Presidential Villa on Friday, March 23, 2018.

The schoolgirls had been kidnapped by the terrorists on February 19, 2018, during an attack on their school but were released on Wednesday, March 21 to wild jubilation in Dapchi.

According to official figures from the Federal Government, only 104 of the girls were released alongside one boy and another girl who were unconnected to the Dapchi abduction.

However, while speaking at the reception for the freed girls, the president revealed that 105 Dapchi girls were released alongside the other two.

He further that the girls' return is a fulfillment of his promise to secure the unconditional release of the girls.

He said "I am delighted to formally announce to Nigerians this morning and our International friends and partners that One Hundred and Seven (107) students (105 Dapchi Schoolgirls + 2 others) previously abducted, have been unconditionally released by their abductors.

"This cheering and hearty development signifies our commitment to the security and wellbeing of all Nigerian.

"We are never in doubt about our focus and direction since the assumption of this Administration. Security, anti-corruption and revamping of our economy are the main focus of our Government.

"You will recall that on 14th of this month, I paid a visit to Yobe State during which I sympathized with the parents, families, Government and people of the State on the tragic abduction of the students in Dapchi.

"I made a solemn pledge on my word of honour that this Administration would do everything possible to ensure the unconditional release of the girls.

"I further tasked all the appropriate security agencies to safely bring back the girls. We also reached out to our contacts at home and abroad. We embarked on backchannel shuttles with a clear view to bringing to an end this tragedy.

"We entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls have been released without any incidents.

"Let me reemphasize our Administration’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and insurgency, and also call on all Nigerians, to join in this task.

"The security services have since been directed to put in place further measures around all schools vulnerable to attacks to ensure the safety of our pupils/students and teachers and school workers.

"I have tasked all the security agencies to work to ensure that we do not witness any reoccurrence of these incidents. Security Chiefs have been warned in clear terms that any lapse on their parts will be viewed seriously.

"To the rescued students, we want to reassure you as our daughters, that you will freely live and pursue your dreams in Nigeria of peace and order, without fear of violence or molestation."

The president's claim is in contrast to previous released figures as five of the girls had previously been reported to be dead, with another one still with the terrorists.

One of the released schoolgirls, Khadija Grema, told Channels Television on Wednesday that five of her schoolmates died of heart attack and stress as a result of the long trip while the terrorists have held on to 15-year-old Leah Sharibu for religious reasons.

Even though President Buhari has commented on the fate of Sharibu who's still being held for failing to convert from Christianity to Islam, the Federal Government has failed to comment on the five remaining girls that have been reported dead by their schoolmates.

Inuwa Garba, the father of one of the dead girls, told Associated Press on Thursday, March 22 that some of the released girls told him that his 16-year-old daughter was the first to die and was buried in the bush alongside the other four.

No ransom paid for girls - FG

The Federal Government has categorically denied reports that it paid a ransom to Boko Haram to secure the release of the girls.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the "unconditional" release of the girls was as a result of back-channel efforts achieved through "the help of some friends of the country".

Dapchi abduction

Boko Haram militants invaded Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, Bursari local government area of Yobe on Monday, February 19, 2018, and abducted 110 schoolgirls.

According to accounts by residents, the terrorists invaded the town around 7 pm in over 18 gun trucks mounted with high caliber weapons.

The abduction was a repeat of another Boko Haram attack that happened when militants invaded Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok and kidnapped 276 female students in April 2014.

After several escapes and releases, 112 of the girls remain in captivity of the deadly terrorist group.

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