Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who made a new revelation on the new move by Nigeria’s Presidency to stop the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East Nigeria, told reporters yesterday in Lagos, that FG is in talks with Boko Haram about a possible ceasefire.
This is coming after the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, told reporters on Saturday in Maiduguri, capital of neighbouring Borno State, that the girl “may be released”. Idris said he canceled a visit to Dapchi to avoid any “security hitch” in the town before Leah’s arrival, without providing further details.
According to Lai Mohammed, the FG would reinvigorate national security to prevent the further abduction of schoolgirls in the Northeast.
“This Administration remains committed to the fight against terrorism and insurgency. The security services have since been directed to put in place further measures around all schools vulnerable to attacks to ensure the safety of pupils/students and teachers and school workers. The President has also tasked all the security agencies to work to ensure that we do not witness any recurrence of these incidents.
“While the military efforts are necessarily ongoing, we are willing to continue engaging in a meaningful dialogue, which is not only about the release of hostages, but intended at a broader engagement on conflict mitigation, reduction of the violence, possibility of ceasefire, protection of civilians, and increased humanitarian access. Government is therefore willing to engage on measures which can lead to stopping the bloodshed and finding long-lasting solutions to the conflict.
“The talks helped to secure the release of the police officers’ wives and the University of Maiduguri lecturers recently. The talks did not stop thereafter. .
“Therefore, we were able to leverage the wider talks when the Dapchi girls were abducted” he said.
Lai Mohammed also frowned at the fake news about an Army Sergeant, David Bako, who allegedly claimed that he was part of a conspiracy by the government to abduct the Dapchi girls.
Mohammed said: “This is a classic example of disinformation and fake news. I can tell you categorically that this David Bako is fake. There is no such soldier in the Nigerian Army.
“There was no conspiracy anywhere. The intention of those behind the disinformation and fake news is to cause disaffection between Christians and Muslims, and between Southerners and Northerners.”
Mohammed maintained that the government neither paid ransom nor swapped any Boko Haram member to secure the girls’ release of the girls.
“The insurgents brought the girls back to the location of the kidnapping themselves as an apparent gesture of goodwill, following relentless efforts by the government to find long-lasting solutions to the conflict.
“The insurgents decided to return the girls to where they picked them from as a goodwill gesture. All they demanded was a ceasefire that will grant them a safe corridor to drop the girls.
“Consequently, a week-long ceasefire was declared, starting from Monday, 19 March. That is why the insurgents were able to drop the girls. This counters the conspiracy theories being propounded in some quarters concerning why it was so easy for the insurgents to drop off the girls without being attacked by the military” he added.