Following the release of about 104 pupils of the Government Girls Science and Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Yobe state, coupled with the kudos and knocks that greeted their return, the federal government has decided to explain what was agreed upon between it and the Islamic sect Boko Haram before the schoolgirls were freed.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke with reporters in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Wednesday, admitted that the government negotiated with the sect.
He however insisted that the government did not pay ransom to the leadership of the brutal, Islamic death cult for the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls.
His words: “All the 106 persons were freed unconditionally, contrary to reports in a section of the media that ransom was paid and that some insurgents were swapped for the freed persons.”
”It is not true that we paid ransom for the release of the Dapchi girls, neither was there a prisoner swap to secure their release.”
”What happened was that the abduction itself was a breach of the ceasefire talks between the insurgents and the government, hence it became a moral burden on the abductors. Any report that we paid ransom or engaged in prisoner swap is false.”
Speaking on the condition that was agreed upon by both parties, the minister said:
“The girls were released unconditionally; no money changed hands. They only gave one condition – that they would return them (the girls) to where they picked them from. So in the early hours of today (yesterday), they did return the girls and most of them went to their parents’ homes.”
“Like I said in the statement released to you early, once violence and confrontation was ruled out and negotiation started, there was a deliberate pause on the part of the military; in other words, it was agreed that there will be no force, there will be no confrontation, that was why it was possible for them to drop the girls. It was part of the agreement that when they release the girls, there will be no violence or confrontation. And don’t forget that the lives of this children are much more important to us than any cheap victory.
“As of now I can confirm that 91 girls and one boy have been released. The event is developing. Many of the girls that were released were not dropped in one place. Some were dropped on the road and they went back naturally to their parents’ houses. They are now being asked to come and be documented at a center and as at five minutes ago, I was told 91 girls and boy had been documented.”