Chibok girls: FG begins swop move with Boko Haram detainees
There are indications that the Federal Government has begun moves to exchange the Chibok girls with some Boko Haram detainees.
PUNCH reveals that as part of the moves, security agencies had started conducting a fresh profiling of the Boko Haram detainees in line with a directive of the Federal Government.
It was learnt the profiling would include the time they were arrested and the de-radicalisation programme they had undergone.
Findings showed that besides the military, the police, the Nigeria Prison Service, the office of the National Security Adviser and the Ministry of Justice would be involved in the swop talks.
It was gathered that although the government had not decided on the militants that would be released in exchange for the Chibok girls, insurgents, who had not been tried could be the first beneficiaries of the swop deal.
It was also learnt that detainees, who had undergone the “de-radicalisation” programme of the government, would be considered under the arrangement.
Investigations showed that the government had started addressing problems that could hinder the swop talks with the sect following its split early this month.
Boko Haram had, on August 3, 2016, split with ISIS naming Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the leader of the group.
But a few days later, the former leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, in a video, dismissed the appointment of the new leader and insisted that he remained the authentic leader of the group.
Shekau, in a video released on Sunday, said the sect was ready to exchange more than 200 girls abducted on April 14, 2014 at Chibok Secondary School for its fighters that were being detained by the Federal Government.
It had been exclusively reported on Tuesday that the Federal Government was in a dilemma over the faction of the sect it should hold talks with.
A top government officer, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, said that the government had started addressing the problem.
He said, “I can assure you that the government is identifying genuine members of the sect it is negotiating with. We won’t repeat the mistake the immediate past government made by talking with those who will not produce the girls.
“Government is not opposed to swopping. Other countries, including Israel, have done it. In fact, security agencies are conducting fresh profiling of the sect members that are being detained. That is the first move. If there are sect members that have not been tried, they will be the first set to be considered under the arrangement.”
Attempts to speak with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, failed as he did not pick calls to his mobile telephone. Neither he nor his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, replied enquiries sent as text messages.
But the minister had on Sunday said that the government was in touch with members of the sect.
“The government is in touch with those behind the video. We are on top of the situation,” he had stated.
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