President Buhari describes the releases of 82 Chibok girls as democracy gift

The 21 Chibok girls released by Boko Haram attend a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, October 19.

Nigeria said on Saturday it had secured the release of 82 girls in exchange for Boko Haram prisoners.

"Let me reassure Nigerians, especially relatives and friends of the remaining girls that the Federal Government will spare no effort to see that they and all other Nigerians who have been abducted safely regain their freedom", he said.

According to Mogherini, all must be done to ensure that those responsible of their ordeal are brought to justice.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has explained why the 82 freed Chibok girls are looking fine and not like the first set released in October 2016.

The EU also continues to be fully committed to supporting humanitarian, development and reconstruction work in Nigeria, Mogherini said.

"UNICEF calls on Boko Haram to end all grave violations against children, especially the abduction of children and the sexual abuse and forced marriage of girls".

Enoch Mark, a Christian pastor whose two daughters were among the kidnapped, said of the latest releases: "This is good news to us". Nigerian authorities worked with the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross on the negotiations, according to a statement from Buhari's spokesman.

One of the sources close to the discussions, who do not want to be named, said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed for more action to bring the girls back home. Human rights advocates believe others could be among the young girls who have been used to carry out suicide bombing attacks.

Mr. Buhari stated this Sunday when he hosted the girls in his official residence at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Some parents did not live long enough to see their daughters released, underscoring the tragedy of the three-year saga.

Abuja: In this file image taken from video by Nigeria's Islamic extremist network, shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok.

One of Boko Haram's captive, released late previous year, cradles the child she conceived after being abducted in 2014.

"They will face a long and hard process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable horror and trauma they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram", said Pernille Ironside, acting representative of UNICEF Nigeria.

Boko Haram, whose declared aim is to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 2 million during its 8-year insurgency.

  • Leroy Wright