Jonathan Okayed Exchange Of Boko Haram Commanders For Chibok Girls – PDP
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led Peoples Democratic Party has said the move to swap detained commanders of the Boko Haram sect for the Chibok girls was initiated by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2014.
The Deputy National Chairman of the party, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said during a press briefing in Abuja, on Monday, that it was appropriate for the government to do everything to secure the release of the abducted girls.
He urged the government to put in more efforts to negotiate the release of the remaining girls in the captivity of the insurgents.
Ojougboh was reacting to the statement by the Senator Ahmed Maikarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the PDP criticising the exchange of the Boko Haram detainees for the girls.
Ojougboh claimed that the Ijaw National leader, Chief Edwin Clark, nominated him into a government team to negotiate the release of the Chibok girls in May 2014 following the intervention on an unnamed World Bank Consultant, who suggested to Clark that the girls could be rescued at the time.
He said the government team at the time comprised the then Director-General of the Department of State Services, Ita Ekpeyong; the then Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh; the former Chief Security Officer to Jonathan, the late Gordon Obua, and himself.
According to him, the government team negotiated with some people contacted by Senator Shehu Sani and a top Borno businessman and school owner, whose identity he did not disclose.
He said that after a series of meetings with the negotiating team for the insurgents, they requested that 10 of their members, who were arrested in Bauchi while observing prayers, should be released for the girls.
Ojougboh added, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud today to tell you that I was the one who was nominated to negotiate the release of the Chibok girls.
“And we held a series of meetings, the International Red Cross, the Embassy of Switzerland; we took these representatives of the Boko Haram to the international Red Cross, and to the Ambassador of Switzerland, they gave us time, they studied what information we had and they approved it.
“We took the information to Mr. President and Mr. President said that whatever it would take to release the Chibok girls, any swap that these people demand, he approved it. Jonathan approved it.
“So to say that the swap of Boko Haram girls with prisoners is not necessary, I will tell you that it was PDP government that initiated it.”
He added that a Borno State indigene got wind of the moves to release the girls and sabotaged the efforts while the government team, comprising some female doctors from the DSS and him, were waiting to perfect the deal.
Ojougboh urged Nigerians to discountenance the concerns expressed by the Makarfi faction, who he said should not issue any statement on behalf of the PDP.
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