President Buhari vows to secure release of abducted persons

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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President Muhammadu Buhari says government will do its best to secure the release of the 110 students of Government Girls Science and Technical College Dapchi in Yobe State, North-East Nigeria.

He has also pledged that government will ensure the release and safe return of all persons abducted by the boko haram insurgents.

President Buhari made the commitment on Monday, when he received three lecturers and 10 Policewomen recently released by their abductors.

He said: “I am pleased to see that you are now free and will soon join your loved ones as well as be fully integrated back into the society. While thanking the security agencies and all those who facilitated this, let me clearly reiterate the resolve of this administration to ensure all persons abducted by the insurgents are rescued or released safely. This is especially against the backdrop of the recent sad incident where another group of girls were abducted o the 19th February form Government Girls Science and Technical College Dapchi, Yobe State.  Government remains unrelenting towards rescuing all those who were abducted.”

President Buhari stated that the Nigerian government will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders and relevant international organizations, to fast track the rehabilitation and resettling of all people dislodged by the boko haram activities in the North-East.  

“Government will work closely with all stakeholders such as the UN and other donor agencies as well as voluntary organizations towards rehabilitating and resettling all those displaced as a result of this conflict, to quicken the resumption of meaningful socio-economic activities. I remain very mindful of the pains and injuries collectively meted out by the insurgents and will ensure that government does not leave any stone unturned, to degrade and contain the insurgents and ensure that complete peace returns to our land,” he said.

The Commander in Chief of the Armed Force commended the effort of the military and other security agencies, sister nations in the Lake Chad basin and the International Committee of the Red Cross, for their professionalism throughout the process of negotiation and subsequent release of the abductees.

He directed the National Youth Service Corps NYSC to issue a certificate of completion of service year to one of the rescued ladies who was abducted while undergoing her NYSC.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, one of the released lecturers, Dr Solomon Yusuf, thanked government for securing their release.   

Dr Yusuf used the opportunity to request that they be given a new job and relocated away from Maiduguri, where they were working before their abduction.

“We are excited that we are free again. We appreciate every effort, labour and commitment put together to make sure that we regain our freedom. While we were in captivity, we lost hope but Sir you surprised us after seven months for us from the University and eight months for the 10 ladies form Lassa, Nigeria rescued us. This shows that the life of every Nigerian is important, Sir we are grateful, you gave us hope when there was no hope.  We also want to appreciate the Nigerian Armed Forces, the DSS and the entire team that worked together to make sure we regain our freedom. We also want to appreciate Nigerians for praying. We were informed that the entire nation was praying for us. Sir from the University it is a golden opportunity for us to see you and to share our fears and concern because we were abducted while working for the nation. Going home for us is like a nightmare because of our experience. Sir we request that if there is an opportunity for us to be relocated and may be given another job, we will appreciate. ” he appealed.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of the Department of State Services DSS, Lawal Musa Daura said the final rescue of the returnees was facilitated by the Nigerian Armed Forces, particularly the Army and the Air force, by providing logistics and a safe corridor for the operation, based on the directives of the President.

Daura suggested that he safe schools project be reactivated in the North-east, where most of the schools are prone to attacks and similar abductions.

The 10 women, who regained their freedom, were abducted in June 2017 while the University of Maiduguri lecturers were abducted in July of the same year by boko haram insurgents but government made frantic efforts through various means, which led to their safe release by their abductors. 

Nnenna.O