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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How Nigerian Troops Almost Bungled Release Of Chibok Girls

By SaharaReporters

Inter-agency squabbles and a jostling for superiority by the Nigerian army nearly marred the release of 21 Chibok schoolgirls on Thursday, according to tips provided by sources knowledgeable about the complex operation.

One of the sources told SaharaReporters that agents of the Department of State Security (DSS) had concluded the negotiation with Boko Haram fighters to release the first batch of Chibok girl kidnapped by the insurgent Islamist sect in April 2014 and were invited to pick the girls inside Sambisa Forest when the Nigerian Army was contacted to provide cover. Only a few military generals were aware of the entire operation because they coordinated with the DSS to visit Sambisa Forest in the middle of the night. Boko Haram had stipulated that no soldiers could accompany the DSS team that would recover the 21 abducted girls.

However, to be on the safe side, the Nigerian government asked that some well-armed soldiers accompany the DSS officers and some negotiators from the Switzerland government just to be on the safe side.

As planned, and using satellite telephone from the Abuja command center, the DSS officers traveled several miles deep into Sambisa Forest and met with one of the top Boko Haram leaders who brought the 21 girls.

SaharaReporters learned that the negotiations, which called for the government team to drop an undisclosed amount of money, was going well until the Nigerian soldiers in the contingent fired a volley of artillery fire in an apparent effort to claim that they rescued the girls.

The Boko Haram leader involved in the exchange of the abducted girls pleaded with the DSS negotiators to ask the soldiers to stop shooting. Once the soldiers stopped firing, the Boko Haram leader asked the Nigerian contingent to switch on their full headlights. When the lights were turned on, the Boko Haram leader who had come with the girls asked the DSS team to look to their right. The DSS team was stunned to see at least 150 well-armed Boko Haram fighters hidden in the nearby bush ready to strike.

The Boko Haram team then warned the DSS negotiators that they came prepared to die, adding that they suspected that the government team would arrive with the Nigerian army despite the insurgent group’s warning that they did not wish to deal with the army at all.

With nerves calmed, the DSS then dropped the ransom money and took the 21 girls and a baby boy born by one of them and traveled several kilometers to Banki near Cameroon where they put the released girls on a military aircraft.

Our sources disclosed that most military generals did not know about the entire operation. That explained why, after SaharaReporters broke the story of the release of the girls, spokespersons to the Nigerian army at first said it was not true. In a later response, the army told reporters to take whatever came from the Presidency as the update on the condition of Chibok girls.

Another source told our correspondent that the only girl among the rescued girls who is a mother had apparently got pregnant before she was kidnapped in 2014. She later bore a son named Buka Amos.

A Chibok community leader, Zannah Lang confirmed to SaharaReporters that Deborah Ja’afaru had just got married and pregnant when she was kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters in 2014. She delivered her baby boy in custody of Boko Haram until her release on Thursday.

The 21 girls remain under intense medical care at the DSS clinic in Abuja and their parents as expected to meet them on Saturday.

SaharaReporters source said they expect to enter into the next phase of the negotiation with Boko Haram, which would involve the exchange of high profile Boko Haram prisoners.

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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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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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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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Release Of 21 Chibok Girls: A Plus For Buhari – MURIC

21 of about 265 Chibok girls who were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents were set free today after several negotiations between the insurgents and the Federal Government (FG).

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends FG for the successful negotiation which led to the freedom of 21 of the Chibok girls. This development marks the beginning of the liberation of the girls in totality. It also showcases FG’s genuine commitment to the rescue of the Chibok girls. It is a plus for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although it is not yet Uhuru, we wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari for bringing out 21 of the girls from captivity. It may be a small number but it is a pointer to better days ahead. A silver lining has appeared in the sky after cloudy and stormy days.

In particular, we hail President Buhari for his  recent passionate appeal to the United Nations (UN) to come to his aid in negotiating with the Boko Haram insurgents. We believe that it was this transparent and highly pragmatic approach which brought the Red Cross and the UN into the negotiation process. It is needless to say that the insurgents saw credibility and sincerity in FG’s latest negotiation moves because international agencies were involved.

However, the release of the 21 girls has effectively punctured the conspiracy theory of a few doubting Thomases led by the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who alleged that the abduction of the girls was a phantom. The reunion of the girls with the rest of Nigerians is also a serious indictment on the former president who dilly dallied for 18 good days after their kidnap before lifting a finger. Had he acted early, the girls would have been rescued before the insurgents did so much harm to them.

Former President Jonathan must therefore live with the moral burden of official and deliberate neglect in the case of the abduction of the Chibok girls for the rest of his life. It was sheer dereliction of duty at the highest echelon of power. No more, no less. Jonathan’s moral nightmare must include the trauma experienced by the girls and their parents over the single parent phenomenon to which some of the girls who came back with kids are unjustly subjected.

We are saddened by the fact that some of the girls came back with children of their own but we thank Allah that they are alive. We charge FG to come up with a programme for the full rehabilitation of the 21 girls, their kids and others still in captivity whose release we are eagerly anticipating.

MURIC appeals to the parents of the Chibok girls whose children are yet to be released to remain hopeful, to exercise patience and to have faith in the efforts of the Buhari administration to bring back their daughters.

On a final note, while we commend the efforts of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group in putting pressure on governments of the day on the subject-matter, we appeal for decorum and rational behavior in the methods adopted. While public demonstrations in the days of Jonathan can be rationalized in the face of official lethargy, the same cannot be said about the Buhari period.

We therefore advise the BBOG group to stop public demonstrations henceforth. Public demonstrations are capable of being hijacked by hoodlums who may loot shops, attack innocent motorists and commit other atrocities. BBOG should divert its energy to peaceful advocacy on the issue through press statements and humanitarian efforts aimed at improving the standard of living of the Chibok girls in particular, their education, their kids, their parents and the Chibok community in general.   

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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#BringBackOurGirls Movement Excited Over Release Of 21 Chibok Girls

The #BringBackOurGirls campaign has expressed excitement over Boko Haram’s release of 21 out of the over 200 Chibok school girls abducted by the terrorist group in 2014.

The group said, Thursday, in a press statement that they welcomed the reports of the girls’ release.

“This wonderful development confirms what we have always known about the capacity of our government to rescue our #ChibokGirls,” said the statement, signed by the group’s leaders, Aisha Yesufu and Oby Ezekwesili.

“While awaiting further details, we take this opportunity to salute the work of our security services at the front lines – the commitment, resilience and tireless efforts of our members of the Multi-national Joint Task Force and the civilian JTF.

“We also thank the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Swiss government and all negotiators involved in securing the release.

“Following this development, we trust that our government will continue to work to keep the safety, security, and well-being of the other girls a high priority.

“We further urge the international community to continue to support our government’s effort to rescue all other abducted Nigerians, so that parents, the Chibok community, the nation, and the world can finally put an end to this nightmare once and for all,” the group said.

Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 female students from a secondary school in Chibok on April 14, 2014, provoking international outrage.

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FG Denies Swapping Boko Haram Prisoners For Chibok Girls

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has denied that the federal government swapped some Boko Haram prisoners for the 21 Chibok girls released by the terrorist group early Thursday morning.

Addressing a press conference on the release of the abducted girls, Mr. Mohammed said the girls were released following credible information from trusted negotiators among the leadership of Boko Haram.

He said the president, Muhammadu Buhari, gave directives to officials of the State Security Service after it was certain that the release of the girls was possible, based on the information provided.

“The moment we had a credible lead, we built confidence on our sources and the president gave authorities to the SSS to pursue the release if the girls.

“As soon as the necessary confidence was built on both sides, the parties agreed on the date and the location of the release of the 21 girls. Please note that this is not a swap. It is a release, the
product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.

“As soon as agreements were reached; the parties decided on a place of exchange and the girls were released.

“They were immediately flown to Kaduna state where they are expected shortly; this afternoon to Abuja”, said Mr. Mohammed.

He said government had put in place medical, psychological and trauma experts, as well as social workers to help attend to the health needs of the girls upon their return to Abuja.

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Buhari ‘Welcomes’ Release Of 21 Chibok Girls Before Heading Out To Germany

President Muhammadu Buhari has “welcomed” the release of 21 of the abducted Chibok girls and promised to further discuss the situation in the north-east with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Buhari stated this just before his departure to the Federal Republic of Germany, where he is expected to confer with Merkel on issues of shared interests between Nigeria and Germany, including further cooperation on security, the humanitarian situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and rehabilitation of the north-east.

“As I depart Abuja for Germany on an official visit, I welcome the release of 21 of the Chibok girls, following successful negotiation,” he tweeted.

“The department of State Services has briefed me on the matter and will continue to provide updates.

“Cooperation on the security and humanitarian situation in the Northeast will form a significant part of my discussion with Chancellor Merkel.”

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Boko Haram Reportedly Release 21 Chibok Girls To FG

Degraded Boko Haram group, has reportedly released about twenty-one of the abducted Chibok school girls to the Nigerian Government.

Recall that the Islamic sect had in 2014 abducted over 200 girls from their dormitory in government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

According to SaharaReporters, the girls were picked up by military helicopter from Banki area of the state where the terrorist group dropped them off earlier today.

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Civil Society Group Want President Buhari To Order The Immediate Release Of DSS Report On Magu

By Adenike Lucas

A civil society group have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB to direct the Department of State Service, DSS to publish its report on the culpability of Mr Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, the acting chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Transparency for Social Justice and Equity, a non-governmental organisation that works to uphold the human right of Nigerians, expressed concerns about Mr Magu’s alleged connection to Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (Rtd) whom the DSS had arrested and recovered $1.5 million dollars, confidential document from the EFCC, Office of the President and Arms Deal Committee in his Maitama home.

In an article first published by This Day on the 10th of June, Mr Muhammed is accused of fronting for Mr Magu.

A source had previously revealed to this blog that the retired Air Force officer who remains in custody is alleged to have run a blackmailing and extortion cartel using the classified documents found in his home. Mr Muhammed is said to have implicated Mr Magu during questioning.

The Civil Society Organisation who made note of this allegation were worried that “Mr Magu was still allowed to be heading the anti-graft agency despite this alarming level of accusation.”

The group states that “we are worried that despite details provided by the arrested Air Commodore Umar Muhammad (Rtd) who is said to be fronting for a senior EFCC and Office of the National Security Adviser official, Mr Magu was still leading the agency.”

According to the Secretary of the group, Mr O. Williams, “President Buhari must look beyond what Mr Magu may be portraying himself to be, and take the bull by the horn, in order to have a total war against corruption.”

The coalition of Nigerian Youths for Change Initiative had also accused Mr Magu of awarding the sum of N43m to his crony and DSS suspect retired Air Pilot Muhammed, for the furnishing of a Maitama residence, which he recently moved into.

In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Mr Oladimeji Ayo, said at a time “the country is facing economic downtown, with most cabinet members of PMB unable to cater for their accommodation challenges,” the EFCC chair was not being prudent.

Mr Ayo who called for Mr Magu to be relieved of his job explained that Mr Magu “led EFCC is not different from his predecessor, Mr Ibrahim Larmorde whose tenure witnessed the outright stealing of N1trillion Naira of recovered funds by the commission- an allegation that made Mr Lamorde disappear from public scene instead of defending himself before the Nigerian Senate.”

Mr Williams agreeing with Mr Ayo said: “It is now clear that Mr Magu is not fighting corruption with sincerity as envisaged by PMB, but projecting his interest at the detriment of the country’s predicament.”

Meanwhile, the DSS which did not have the chance to SCREEN Mr Magu before his name was submitted to the Senate, is yet to publish the full report on the activities of Mr Magu. The group is now demanding that the President “orders” for them to do so.

Mr Magu is presently expecting to get confirmed by the NASS upon resumption today, Tuesday, 20th September 2016.

Well-meaning Nigerians have been calling on the government of President Buhari to avoid the future embarrassment which for sure Mr Magu is ready to make the regime face as a plan ‘B’ in the event he is not confirmed by the Senate.

Last month, regular staff at EFCC made a complaint of bullying against their boss but they said “Nigerians thought it was a joke.”

Now, they say “even the seconded Policemen at EFCC are now complaining bitterly to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris that Mr Magu was maltreating them.

They also accused him of “impunity and money laundering.”

One noted that the desperation of the troubled leader of the anti-graft agency is such that he was “blackmailing first class Emirs in the north”.

Insiders also say that Mr Magu launched a media war against those he believes might be working against his bid to be made the substantive chair of the EFCC.

Alhaji Aba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President; Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, the Attorney-General of Federation and Abulrahman Dambazau, the Minister of Interior; Mallam Mamman Daura et al are amongst those Mr Magu believes are working against him.

To get back at them, he has sponsored false article on the US based online website, Sahara Reporters about them.

In the latest onslaught of sponsored article via Sahara Reporters, Mallam Daura is accused of writing the “plagiarised Obama speech” read by President Buhari but government sources who corroborate Garba Shehu’s (SSA, Media & Publicity to the President) statement on the issue say that Sahara Reporters is “peddling lies.”

Yesterday, the pioneer chairman of the EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu gave insiders willing to expose Mr Magu, a big boost when he has said that “whistleblowers must be encouraged and protected.”

EFCC staff say Mr Magu is not fit to lead the commission because of the challenges he has been presenting himself to the public.

Those present at a Lagos symposium where Mr Magu presented a written paper “This Is Our Chance” questioned the authenticity of his University Accountancy Degree.

One person said: “when you ask him, sometimes he’d say he went to Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria another time, he says he graduated from University of Maiduguri.”

Another lambasted him for not being able to read a well written paper that was given to him days back. They say he has “become an embarrassment to himself and the government.”

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Reported Release Of Kabiru Sokoto: Hatred For President Buhari Taken Too Far, By Inibehe Effiong

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