#BringBackOurGirls Movement Disowns Purported Chibok Girls Endowment Project

“Official Inauguration and Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Chibok Girls Endowment Project”

Following repeated enquiries from the media, we stumbled upon information of an event tagged “Official Inauguration and Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Chibok Girls Endowment Project” organised by the “Peace Corps of Nigeria” and “Africa Support and Empowerment Initiative”, with Hadiza Buhari-Bello.

We are shocked, perplexed and completely dumbfounded to see the bold inscription of our hard-earned name, #BringBackOurGirls, on the event’s backdrop. We state categorically that we are not party to the said event and have absolutely no information of its origin. We urge the general public to disregard attempts at linking our movement to this highly suspicious event.

After 902 days of painstaking advocacy, it is disheartening and unfortunate to suddenly see attempts, by external actors, to use it for selfish purposes. We have carefully built our reputation as a well-organized and disciplined global movement that is completely self-funded.

The deliberate decision, to remain funded by sacrificial contributions of members for our very negligible needs, is the reason we are solely a Citizens’ Movement, and not an NGO. It will be highly injurious to allow it be dragged in the mud at this point. We therefore demand an immediate retraction and unreserved apology from the organizers.

Together with our lawyers, Femi Falana & Co., we are considering a response to this attempt to smear our movement. We call on the general public and law enforcement agencies to be on the look-out for unscrupulous persons who may already be/are planning similar nefarious acts to deceive the local and international community.

Signed:

For #BringBackOurGirls

AISHA YESUFU
OBY EZEKWESILI

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VIDEO: Tears Of Joy As Chibok Girls Reunite With Their Families

It was all emotions on Sunday as the the 21 kidnapped Chibok girls who regained their freedom earlier in the week attended a thanksgiving service organised for them.

As the service was going on, parents of the girls arrived the venue forcing tears down the eyes of almost everyone, particularly the girls and their parents.

In this video shared by Williams Adeleye, the parents of the girls are seen expressing emotions in ways best known to them.

In one of them, a mother could be seen carrying her daughter on her back to express joy at being reunited with her.

Watch the video below:

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Boko Haram Sets Conditions To Free 83 More Chibok Girls

As negotiations for the expected next phase of the release of 83 Chibok girls begins this week, there were indications, last night, that the leadership of the Boko Haram sect might table two major conditions to be met by the Federal Government to seal the deal.

Vanguard reports that a source close to the negotiation stated that unlike the 21 girls, who were freed by the sect, last Thursday, to test government’s level of commitment and sincerity, the release of the remaining girls may be based strictly on ransom payment and freedom for no fewer than 16 of Boko Haram commanders by the government.

The government, it was learnt, was eager to get the remaining 83 girls, reportedly held by a top leader of the sect in an undisclosed location in the North East.

Of the 219 girls still missing, a source said that only 104 were left in the captivity of the sect while the rest had long been married off by top commanders and converted to Islam.

READ: 114 Chibok Girls Feared Dead, Married off or Radicalised, Sources Claim

“The truth is that those Chibok girls are now Boko Haram members, having married the sect members and become radicalised,” the source said.

“The remaining 83 girls are with a top leader of Boko Haram and those are the only ones we are going to work for their release in the next phase of our negotiations which starts immediately.

“The others had since become Boko Haram members, having been married off and radicalised into Boko Haram as soon as they were captured over two years ago”.

It was learnt that the representatives of the sect, who are meeting with a Federal Government team, might insist on payment upfront of huge cash by government before freeing the captives.

“I think the guys are settled on the idea that the cash must come ahead of the release since they had proved to government that they are reliable by releasing the 21 girls, last week, without many conditions attached”, the source stated.

READ: Cash Or Prisoners, What Did The Nigeria Govt Swapped For Chiboks Girls?

Asked if the sect leaders were unsure of government’s sincerity to keep its own side of the bargain, the source said that the representatives of Boko Haram had also shown that they have confidence in government.

It was learnt that the lingering challenge in getting back all the girls arose from the fact that while some of them are with a faction loyal to Benawhi, the rest are being kept by the group loyal to Abubakar Shekau.

But one of the negotiators believed the remaining 83 girls would be freed if a meaningful deal is struck between the sect and the Federal Government.

READ: How Nigerian Troops Almost Bungled Release Of Chibok Girls

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114 Chibok Girls Feared Dead, Married off or Radicalised, Sources Claim

Of the roughly 197 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls who still are unaccounted for after Boko Haram militants kidnapped them in Borno State two years ago, about 114 have either died, been married off, or become radicalised and don’t want to leave their Boko Haram kidnappers, sources have said.

Only 83 will be negotiated for when the the Nigerian government resumes talks next week for their release, two sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations told CNN.

Negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government over the captives are expected to resume Monday, four days after the militant group handed over 21 former Chibok schoolgirls to authorities in northeastern Nigeria.

Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls and women, ages 16 to 18, in the middle of the night at a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, in April 2014, drawing global outrage.

As many as 57 girls escaped almost immediately in 2014, and one was found months ago.

If the sources are correct about the number of dead or otherwise unavailable, that would mean more than 40 per cent of those who were kidnapped in 2014 stand no chance of being brought home alive or no obvious immediate chance of being retrieved through negotiation.

While the Nigerian government has said Boko Haram released the 21 as a result of negotiations brokered by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross, it hasn’t said what the militant group may have received in return.

According to CNN, two sources close to the negotiations disclosed that that Boko Haram received money as part of the deal. The sources did not disclose the amount.

Thisday

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No Disquiet In Military Over Chibok Girls Release – DHQ, Says Operation Against Boko Haram Continues in North-East

the Defence Headquarters yesterday said the release of the girls has not caused disquiet in the military.

It also said the operation in the North-East against Boko Haram insurgents will continue.

The DHQ made the clarifications in a statement by the Acting Director Defence Information Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar.

He said: “The Defence Headquarters attention has been drawn to an online and newspaper publication insinuating that there is a mixed feeling among Nigerian military ranks and files as a result of the recent release of some Chibok girls.

“The military wishes to state unequivocally that the Armed Forces will continue to work closely with all our sister security agencies to achieve more feat in this direction.

“The military also want to debunk the baseless and unfounded story that there is disquiet in the military over the condition of release of the girls.

“The Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies are one working together to finish the war on terror and other criminalities which can be done covertly or overtly.  The most important thing is achieving our strategic objective.

“The DHQ has said before that negotiation with the terrorists or any other group rests purely on our respected political leaders.  The military operations to rid our land of terrorists continue.

“It is important to state that not all information is meant for public consumption due to processes which is purely political.  More so, the ongoing military operation is making unprecedented progress with the rescue of many captives held by the terrorists.  The general public should discountenance with this baseless and misleading story.

“While the Armed Forces hold the media veritable partner, it urges the media to be mindful and clarify with the military when reporting security and defence issues bothering on sensitive national matters of this nature.”

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Chibok Girls Reunite With Families

Parents of the 21 Chibok schoolgirls who were released on Thursday were on their way to   Abuja last night   after an all day journey from Borno State for a reunion with their long missing daughters.

Fathers and mothers are expected to set their eyes on their beloved ones for the first time in over two years in a re-union that is bound to be highly emotional.

The girls are currently in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) which, along with the Swiss Government and Maiduguri lawyer Mustapha Zanna, negotiated their release from Boko Haram.

A medical team has been attending to them since their return from custody.

All the girls have spoken with their parents on the phone since their arrival in Abuja.

But the Department of State Security Services (DSS) has restricted access to the girls.

Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume who is from Borno State visited the girls yesterday and broke down in tears on sighting them.

The girls consoled him.

The girls appeared far better than they were when they arrived in Abuja on Thursday.

There was evidence of joy all over them.

And they sang, praising God and thanking Ndume.

“Allah Ya kawo baba mu, mugode Allah”( God has brought our father, we praise the Almighty God) was the theme of their song.

A top source told The Nation that logistics delayed the parents/girls reunion.

“Due to logistics, the 21 girls have not met with their parents. We need to guarantee their safety and make their trip comfortable.  But the parents are in transit (as at 8pm on Saturday) and by Sunday, they will reunite with their children,” the source said.

“So far, all the girls have spoken with their parents and relations on the phone. They are in touch and eager to meet with them.

“The DSS has however restricted access to the girls for strategic reasons. We do not want to make them vulnerable again since they are undergoing rehabilitation.”

Senate Leader Ndume was allowed to meet with the girls between 3pm and 4pm yesterday.

Another source said: “Upon sighting the girls, Ndume wept but the girls milled around consoling him. They were in high spirit.

Speaking with our correspondent last night, Ndume confirmed the audience with the girls.

He said: “I was with them for an hour and I observed that their recovery is rapid. They are looking forward to meeting their parents on Sunday (today).

“We thank the Federal Government for securing the release of these girls. With this development, there is bright light at the end of the tunnel.”

Responding to a question, Ndume said: “There was no sign that the girls were molested or forced to abandon Christianity in captivity.  Gloria, who is their leader led  the  Christian prayer session during my visit.  She offered the prayer in a moving manner and I said ‘you are qualified to be a pastor.’

“They were in good spirit, the medical experts, psychologists and other social workers have done a good job. I am optimistic that they will recover faster.”

A member of the Chibok community who does not want to be named said last night that a thanksgiving service will be held for the safe return of the girls in an undisclosed church in Abuja today.

TheNation

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Cash Or Prisoners, What Did The Nigeria Govt Swapped For Chiboks Girls?

Since the release of 21 girls who were kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State more than two years ago, there have been conflicting reports about what Boko Haram received in exchange.

The reports contrast what the Nigerian govt said, which is that no prisoner or cash were exchanged for the release of the girls.

“This was not a swap,” Nigerian Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Thursday. “It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.”

However, some reports claim prisoners were exchanged for the girls, while some others said the swap involved cash.

While Thisday, quoting presidency source reports that the release of the girls involves cash, a report by CNN is saying some Boko Haram commanders were exchanged for the girls.

Thisday, quoting a presidency source said an undisclosed amount of money was paid to the Boko Haram leaders before the 21 girls were released.

But a CNN report which quoted an anonymous source close to the negotiations between the Islamist militant group and the Nigerian government, “a number of Boko Haram commanders” were freed as part of Thursday’s release of the girls.”

The CCN report  also quoted a separate source, one with direct knowledge about the girls’ release, as saying that no captive Boko Haram fighters were released in exchange for the girls.

Further laying credit to the prisoner swap claim is a report by Punch which said troops and security personnel involved in the ongoing counter-terrorism campaign against Boko Haram are unhappy with the release of five top Boko Haram commanders.

The report added that investigations revealed that the military expressed reservations about the swap which saw the release of five terrorist commanders in exchange for the 21 girls.

“Troops and some military commanders are further worried by the fact that the release of terrorist commanders could impact negatively on the ongoing campaign to flush out the insurgents from the North-East.”‘

“It was further gathered that some of the troops were not happy that Boko Haram commanders, who had killed civilians and security personnel, were traded for the girls.”

The fact that the Nigerian government who claimed no swap in the release of the girls have yet to release terms of the agreement in the negotiated deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government has helped in leaving room for speculations.

Nonetheless, what appears to be of importance to the country is the safe return of the 21 girls and hope that the others will soon be released.

This much was expressed by Vice president Osinbajo after meeting the girls at the Office of the Department of State Services (DSS), saying Nigerians should congratulate themselves and thank God for the girls’ release.

Osinbajo, who also confirmed the information minister’s assertion that the federal government did not swap the girls for detained members of Boko Haram said said: “We should congratulate ourselves and thank the almighty God for the release and subsequent return home of 21 of the Chibok girls who were taken hostage two years ago.

“It is exciting news for the whole country. Everyone is really excited and I believe that we should be very thankful to God.

“When we started negotiations, we said we would consider all options available to us. Absolutely, there was no exchange of any kind.”

When asked further if the government will agree to future swaps to secure the release of the remaining girls, he replied: “We must be sensitive to the fact that the government wants these girls back and alive.

“Again, we must balance it against the security and safety of the country. In the process of negotiations, we will look at all options and we will weigh the options carefully and decide on what to do.

“But what has happened and the process we have begun is one which has not involved any type of swap of Boko Haram commanders or any militant in any way.

“That is a very good turn of events. We believe that in the next few days and months, we will be bringing in more of these girls using exactly the same kind of negotiations and the same template that we used.”

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Buhari Voices Optimism About Release Of More Chibok Girls

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.

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Chibok Girls: Tinubu Hails Buhari, Says President Won’t Rest Until All Girls Are Set Free

National leader of the All progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday hailed President Muhammadu Buhari over the release of 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls.

Tinubu said he is sure that President Muhammadu Buhari will not rest on his oars until all the Chibok girls in captivity have been rescued.

In a statement by his Media Office, Tinubu said: “The news of the release of the 21 Chibok girls came to me as a delightful relief. I congratulate the families of these young ladies who have endured so much anxiety and pain on account of this horrendous experience. I am also grateful that these budding young stars now have the opportunity to again pursue their dreams and aspirations. I know there is road to recovery and readjustment ahead, but I am confident that the support of their families, our communities,and the assistance of our many collaborators at home, and internationally provide the tools required for this.

“I also congratulate and thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his steadfastness and dogged effort in ensuring the release of these girls. I salute our gallant men and women in uniform who continue to make sacrifices on our behalf and have remained focused in the hot pursuit of the terrorists.

“I commend all Federal Government agencies- the DSS, the NIA- and indeed our lawmakers and our other partners who remained dogged and worked assiduously to secure this release.

“It is a great day for our nation and humanity when as shown there, we demonstrate that every life is vital and must be fought for, no matter what it takes. I know that the joy of this outcome will inspire and encourage the government and all concerned to do everything within human possibility to secure the release of our other daughters who are still in captivity.

“This President, I am assured, will not rest on his oars until all the girls in captivity are freed and returned to their families.  Security and ending the Boko Haram insurgency remains atop the agenda of the APC-led government and I am happy that the evidence is there to see that progress is being made on this front.”

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Fayose Doubts Release Of Chibok Girls, Says It Is Diversionary

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has expressed doubts at the claims by the Federal Government that it has secured the release of 21 of the more than 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 in Chibok, Borno state.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said the claims could be another diversionary tactic of the Federal Government.

“Nigerians are no longer interested in the lies and make believes of the APC- led Federal Government. Rather, Nigerians want the economy fixed and food on their tables,” he said.

He said Nigerians should wait to see the set of girls said to have been released before drawing any conclusion.

“As for me, I keep my fingers crossed on this reported release of 21 Chibok girls. This is because we were once told by this same government that one of the girls was released and the girl, who was supposed to be writing Physics WAEC examination then, could not speak one sentence in English,” Fayose said.

“Again, it was reported yesterday that Boko Haram bombed Maiduguri, Borno State and killed more than 10 people. How the same Boko Haram insurgents that bombed Maiduguri yesterday could release 21 Chibok girls today is a question Nigerians must ask.

“Until proved otherwise, the story still appears like one of the diversionary tactics of the federal government.”

While alleging that the Federal Government was evading the hoopla created by the DSS arrest of judges by the Chibok girls story, the governor said the economy deserved better attention than propaganda.

“We have heard enough stories on corruption; the Federal Government should give Nigerians food. The people are suffering and their sufferings must be attended to by the federal government,” he said.

“Propaganda, cheap lies and diversionary tactics must give way for serious governance.”

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Osinbajo To 21 Freed Chibok Girls: Buhari Is Very Excited You Are Free

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed the excitement of President Muhammadu Buhari over the release of 21 of the nearly 300 Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram group.

Osinbajo expressed the excitement while receiving the 21 freed girls at the presidential villa in Abuja.

Below are words of the president.

“First, let me say, we must praise the Almighty God for bringing you back after so many months.

Before I say anything further let’s just say a word of prayer together.

Let us pray.

Our Father in Heaven, we bless your name, we thank you because there is no one like you, thank you for being so good to us, thank you Almighty Father for these ladies.

Father, even as you have brought them back, we pray that you replenish, resuscitate them, and revitalize them with good health so that they can be more successful and happier than they were ever before.

We pray that all of these girls that you have taken care of even while they were in captivity, I pray that you will continue to take care of them.

I pray that you will uphold them, let it be well with them. We pray for those who are still in captivity that all of them will be returned to us. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.

Welcome back girls!

I am sure you know that the whole country has been waiting for you to come back, all these many months, the whole country has been waiting that one day we will see you again and we are very happy to see you back!

We are going to bring your parents, your parents will be coming here to join you.

You can’t immediately be taken out of here because we need to be sure that you are in very good health.

I am sure are going to be very well taken care of. We have provided very good accommodation for you where you will stay where you will sleep and your parents will come and meet you there also.

We are also going to see to it that everything that you require going forward, perhaps your education, those who need to go back to school, those who need to find employment, we are going to make that we make all the provisions for you.

The Federal Government is very committed. The president in particular, has asked me to tell you, how excited he is. When you were away, he kept saying that if it were his daughter he wouldn’t even know what to do.

So we are all very excited that you are here. We are all happy that God has preserved your lives and brought you back.

We know that very soon all will be well and I am sure that when you meet with your parents they will be very excited to meet you.

We have already contacted them, they know where you are, and very soon they will be joining you here. So we are all looking forward to how you are going to settle in very nicely. The doctors have all the kinds of treatment that you will need, so you are all welcome back and we are all very excited to see.”

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Chibok Girls Release, Affirmation Of Buhari’s Pragmatism – BMSG

The Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) describes the release of 21 Chibok girls as not just cheering news but a clear evidence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s pragmatic approach to resolving national challenges.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Malam Muhammad Labo and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke in Abuja, the BMSG commends the government of President Buhari for the release of the 21 Chibok girls, noting that it is an attestation of the pragmatism of this government in resolving issues that had become bemoaning national challenges for Nigeria and Nigerians.

While congratulating the parents of the released girls, in particular, and Nigerians on the cheery news of the release of the girls, the BMSG observes that the President should be appreciated for subjecting the dictates of sovereignty that limit negotiation of any sorts with terrorists, officially, to the empathy of parenthood and the soft emotions of a father.

 The President has, by this singular act, excited the Nigerian mass by sacrificing the universal doctrine of no negotiation with terrorists for empathy. We specially thank the President for this even as we acknowledge the efforts of other mediators in the negotiated release of the Chibok girls.

 This has further enhanced our confidence in the President as a man who matches his word with action. Under 16 months in government, President Buhari has degraded the once dreaded Boko Haram terrorists off Nigerian territory and reduced the once seeming protracted rebellion into a whimper, treacherously seeking out soft targets to register a diminished presence.

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