BBOG endorses Buhari’s appeal to UN on negotiation About Chibok Girls
President Muhammadu Buhari has told the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, that Nigeria will welcome intermediaries from the global body to negotiate with Boko Haram over the release of the over 200 girls kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State, over two years ago.
Buhari’s Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement on Tuesday, quoted the President as saying this during a bilateral meeting with the UN scribe on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York.
The President said the Nigerian government was willing to bend over backwards to free the Chibok girls, who were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, on April 14, 2014.
Buhari stated, “The challenge is in getting credible and bona fide leadership of Boko Haram to discuss with. The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters. The government had reached out, ready to negotiate, but it became difficult to identify credible leaders. We will welcome intermediaries such as the UN outfits to step in.”
The BringBackOurGirls movement said it supported Buhari’s invitation to the UN in the negotiation with Boko Haram on the move to release the Chibok girls.
BBOG’s spokesmen, Abubakar Abdullahi, who spoke with The PUNCH on Thursday, said the group endorsed any step that would facilitate the rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls.
The President noted that the teachings of Boko Haram were far from being Islamic, adding that neither Islam nor any other religion advocated hurting the weak and the innocent.
“The fact that they kill men, women, children and other people wantonly, and shout Allahu Akbar (God is great) shows that they do not know Allah at all. If they did, they would not shed innocent blood,” Buhari said.
He commended Ban for the moral and material support given to Nigeria, which had enabled the country to surmount many of the challenges it had faced.
The BBOG spokesman added, “If you recall what we did when the ‘plea for rescue video’ came out, our position was that something needed to be done; a decision needed to be taken and that we also needed the support of our partners.
“If the President at this point feels that the UN would provide excellent support to this, also provide exceptional leadership to ensure that the girls are returned safely, why not? We support anything that ensures our girls are back.”
Asked if he believed the President was on the right track, Abdullahi said the BBOG supported anything that would bring the girls back.
“If the President feels the credibility of the United Nations would help, to show leadership, return our girls, of course, that is a good thing. We support that; whatever will bring them back is what we want; they have stayed too long already.”
Also, Esther Yakubu, the parent of one of the abducted girls, said she supported any move that would fast-track the release of her daughter.
Yakubu said, “I support any move that will bring back my daughter. They have made many promises to us in respect of the girls, which were not fulfilled, but if the President feels the involvement of the UN will facilitate the release of the girls, I support it.
“All I want is my baby in my arms.”
Ban, in another statement by Adesina, hailed Buhari for his war against corruption and terrorism.
He added that leaders across the world respected the Nigerian President for giving Nigeria a positive image.
Ban said this during a bilateral meeting with the President on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York.
The UN scribe said, “You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your persona has given your country a positive image.”
Meanwhile, troops of the Nigerian Army and fighter jets of the Nigerian Air Force have crushed a major Boko Haram’s siege to Mallam Fatori in Borno State after over 12 hours of intense fighting.
The PUNCH learnt that the troops, their counterparts of the Multinational Joint Task Force and the fighter jets of the NAF subdued the insurgents by 5am on Thursday after several hours of battle.
A top security source explained that the battle raged from 4.30am on Wednesday till 5am on Thursday.
“The troops inflicted a heavy casualty on the insurgents though they also lost a few people.
“The insurgents planted mines around the area but the troops were determined to take the place and by 5am today (Thursday). They were able to overpower the insurgents. The troops are now fully in control of the Mallam Fatori,” he said.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said while it was true that there was serious fighting with the insurgents in the area, the situation had been brought under control.
Although Abubakar did not give the exact number of those killed in the battle, he said the most important thing was that the military was able to crush the insurgents to take over the area.
He added, ‘‘Many of them have been killed and as I am speaking with you, the situation has been normalised and Mallam Fatori is under the full control of the Nigerian Army.
“Naturally, it is a war; the most important thing is that we have been able to crush them and that Mallam Fatori is under the Nigerian military.’’
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