Posted by Rafiu Ajakaye, Lagos | 1 August 2017 | 1,215 times
Nigeria’s government will “very soon” secure the release of the remaining 113 schoolgirls still in Boko Haram captivity for over three years, said an aide to the country’s acting president on Thursday.
Babafemi Ojudu’s comment came as dozens of #BringBackOurGirls activists marched to Aso Rock in the capital Abuja to protest government silence on the fate of the remaining girls, nearly three months after Boko Haram freed 82 of their mates through negotiations led by the Swiss government, the Red Cross, and others.
“The fact that we are not coming out to say what is being done is strategic and also for security reasons,” Osinbajo told the protesters, suggesting behind-the scenes talks.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo “said I should tell you that very soon, more of the girls, if not all of them, all of them, will be brought back home,” he added.
“So we have not at any point forgotten these children, who could be any of our children. The acting president has asked me to reassure you this afternoon, to tell you that he is with you and that your cries are his cries,” he said.
The government also said it is working to free some policewomen recently abducted by Boko Haram militants in northeastern Borno State, the artery of the insurgency now in its eighth year.
Oby Ezekwesili, #BringBackOurGirls co-convener, criticised the government’s attitude since the April 2014 abduction, and called for constant updates on what authorities are doing to end the trauma of the abductees and their families.
Some 276 girls had originally been abducted but 57 of them regained freedom on their own. After three escaped their captors in separate incidents, the release of a total of 103 was negotiated by the government, leaving 113 still in captivity.
Ezekwesili, a former government minister, added, “We were of the conviction that the government, which managed to secure the release of 82 of them, would also secure the release of the remaining 113. We thought that the government had figured out a way to get back our girls, so we estimated that the remaining 113 would return in less time than it took the 82 to come home.
“Today we are out because we do not agree with the way the government is handling the issue of the girls still in captivity.” (Anadolu Agency)
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