Nigerian government verifies release of 101 Dapchi girls

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has confirmed that at least 101 out of the 110 girls abducted from Dapchi in Yobe State have been released by their captors.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, disclosed this to State House Correspondents ahead of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting.

Lai Mohammed said as at 10:40 hours GMT, the update he had was that of the 90 who had been documented.

He said: “As of now (10:40 GMT) I can confirm that 91 girls and one boy have been released. It’s still developing and many of the girls that were released were not dropped in one place. They were dropped on the road and they went back naturally to their parents houses and they are now been asked to come and be documented at a centre and as of five minutes ago was told that 91 girls and one boy had been documented to have been released.”  

Documentation

He said the girls already documented are now at the Dapchi General hospital interacting with Counsellors and undergoing medical checks.

“As I speak to you they are all in the General hospital now in Dapchi, the Counsellors are there with them  and just as we did when we had the first and second set of release of Chibok girls, they would probably be quarantined and psychologically counselled before their return to their schools,” he said.

The Minister, who said no ransom was paid for the release of the girls, affirmed that friends of Nigeria contributed a lot and it was agreed that no violent method would be used in securing the release of the girls, adding that the insurgents pledged to drop the girls from where they picked them and that they have done.

“One condition that the insurgents gave was that they will be the ones to drop the girls and they dropped them in the early hours of today. Once violence and confrontation was ruled out, and the negotiations started, there was a deliberate pause on the part of the military so that’s why it was possible for them to drop the girls. It’s part of the agreement that the girls will be released without any confrontation or violence. Don’t forget that the lives of these girls are much more important to us than any military victory,” the Information Minister stated.

Proactive Measures

He assured Nigerians that adequate measures have been put in place to ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen again.

“If you remember, immediately this thing happened, the President actually directed the Nigeria Security and Civil defence Corps popularly called Civil defence, to ensure that they man every school. But you must look at this in context even in more developed countries, Texas for instance and recently in Florida, you saw how gunmen entered a school and killed about 17 pupils. Insurgency and terrorism all over the world is a global issue and the government must always be on its toes so we have been able to secure the schools and there are even efforts on the part of government to probably merge some schools that are far apart,” he disclosed.


Nnenna.O