President Muhammadu Buhari has voiced optimism about the release of more Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014.
Yesterday, Boko Haram freed 21 of the abducted girls in a swap deal that saw the Nigerian government release four detained members of the Islamist group. The girls’ release came after President Buhari departed Abuja to travel to Germany on a state visit.
In a joint press conference earlier today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Buhari disclosed that his administration would continue negotiations with the Islamist terror group to secure the release of the remaining schoolgirls.
After speaking about the release of 21 schoolgirls, President Buhari noted that more than “100 more are still in the hands of the terrorists somewhere in the Lake Chad Basin area which include Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.
“In getting these 21 out, we hope we will get enough intelligence to go about securing the rest of them.”
Mr. Buhari expressed gratitude to the United Nations for working towards securing the release of the abducted schoolgirls.
He reminded reporters that Boko Haram has killed no fewer than 37,000 Nigerians, adding that Nigeria has about two million people in Internally Displaced Persons camps. According to him, 60 percent of the internally displaced persons are women and children. Mr. Buhari disclosed that 60 percent of displaced children are orphaned.
“This is a major challenge for [the] government,” said Mr. Buhari, explaining that his administration has to provide education and health for the displaced people in addition to returning them to their villages and towns and helping to reintegrate them normal lives.
President Buhari thanked the German government for its humanitarian assistance and support for Nigeria in tackling the effects of terrorism.
Responding to a question about an interview granted by his wife, Aisha Buhari, to the BBC, the Nigerian leader urged his wife and the opposition to appreciate the depth of the problems he met on assumption of office.
He elicited laughter at the press conference when he jokingly said, “I claim superior knowledge compared to [my wife] and the opposition,” mentioning his three failed campaigns for the presidency of Nigeria over a 12-year period before he won on his fourth attempt.