82 freed Chibok schoolgirls arrive in Nigeria's capital
- Author: Leroy Wright May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 3:33
President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday that some Boko Haram prisoners had been released for the freedom of the schoolgirls but he did not give any details.
Although the Chibok girls are the most high-profile case, Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of adults and children, many of whose cases have been neglected.
"I can not express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom", Buhari said in a statement, pledging that the presidency would "personally supervise" authorities charged with ensuring the girls' "health, education, security and general well-being".
The 82 Chibok schoolgirls freed from three years of captivity with Boko Haram have arrived at State House, the official residence of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, to meet the leader and the press.
The group said the freeing of the girls Saturday was the result of a negotiated deal and the efforts of security agencies, the nation's military, the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross and worldwide nongovernmental organizations.
"After months of patient negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these abducted girls in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities".
But AFP understands at least three suspected senior commanders, all of them Chadian nationals, were handed over.
The BBOG urged the federal government to see to the release of the remaining girls "and other abducted citizens of Nigeria".
Last October, 21 of the girls were freed, also a result of negotiations.
Some parents of the kidnapped girls gathered in the capital, Abuja, to celebrate the release, while others expressed anxiety over the fate of the 113 girls who remain missing after the mass abduction from a Chibok boarding school in 2014.
The girls were among about 220 students abducted from a secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok in 2014, sparking a global campaign #bringbackourgirls supported by then U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and list of celebrities.
"However, I encourage that we must all not rest on our oars until the remaining girls still in captivity are released, so that we can finally have a closure on this sad chapter of our country's history", he said.
Boko Haram, which previous year pledged loyalty to Islamic State, has kidnapped hundreds of men, women and children in its campaign to carve out a medieval Islamist caliphate.
"Electricity has improved, price of petroleum products has stabilized, corruption has reduced to the barest minimum, Boko Haram is no longer in control of territories and the Niger Delta issue has been resolved", Shittu told his audience.
"We've always made it clear that we will do everything in our power to ensure the freedom & safe return of our daughters & of all [Boko Haram] captives", Buhari said on his Twitter account.