#DapchiGirls: Nigeria Rejects UN’s Claim Of Ransom Payment To Boko Haram Terrorists
The federal government of Nigeria has reacted in denial to a report that it paid ransom to a Boko Haram splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) to secure the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls.
The rebuttal is coming hours after a United Nations report presented to the UN Security Council on Thursday revealed Nigeria paid ransom to free scores of female students kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe State.
The girls were kidnapped from their school on February 18. One of the girls, Leah Sharibu, is yet to be released for refusing to convert to Islam, other freed girls said.
The Nigerian government said on March 21 that negotiations through a back-channel led to the release of the girls and a boy. But a recent report published by the United Nations said the government lied.
“The girls were released around 3:00 am through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country,” said Nigeria’s Information minister Lai Mohammed in March.
While the minister disclosed that before the girls were freed the insurgents only demanded for a temporary ceasefire, the United Nations, however, said in a recent report submitted to the Security Council Committee that the Nigerian government paid “large ransom” to ISWAP.
“In Nigeria, 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi were kidnapped on 18 February 2018 and released by ISWAP on 21 March 2018 in exchange for a large ransom payment,” the UN said in the report.
The report said such ransom and the predominance of cash economy was providing oxygen for the insurgency around the Lake Chad region.
In its reaction to the report, the Nigerian government through Mr Mohammed said it stands by its statement that no ransom was paid.
It described the UN report as a “mere conjecture.”
”It is not enough to say that Nigeria paid a ransom, little or huge. There must be a conclusive evidence to support such claim. Without that, the claim remains what it is: a mere conjecture,” the minister was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi.