FG ready to pay for Chibok girls’ release

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According to reports, the federal government would explore the option of paying for the release of the Chibok Girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Femi Adesina told BBC Friday.

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“Even the president said if it needed paying, Nigeria was ready to pay. He has said that in the public domain before that if they wanted money, Nigeria could even give money,” Adesina said.

The girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok town, Borno, on April 14, 2014, by Boko Haram.

Asked why was the government willing to pay a ransom for the girls to be released, the presidential spokesman said Buhari was willing to pay the ransom because he wanted the girls out of captivity at all cost.

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“Whatever needs to be done to get those girls back alive, he was willing to do,” Adesina said.

“You need to consider these girls have been in captivity for over two years. Their parents have been traumatised, the entire country has been traumatised. The president himself is a father. He put himself in the position of the parents of those girls.”

Buhari had vowed to rescue the kidnapped girls but their families and Bring Back Our Girls, a movement that has been campaigning for purposeful government action on the rescue of the girls, are not convinced the government was doing enough.

Buhari said in Kenya last month that his government was willing to dialogue with the girl’s abductors for their release.

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“I have made a couple of comments on the Chibok girls and it seems to me that much of it has been politicised,” Buhari said during an interview with journalists in Nairobi.

‘What we said is that the government which I preside over is prepared to talk to bonafide leaders of Boko Haram.

‘‘If they do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognised Non-Governmental Organisation to convince them that they are holding the girls and that they want Nigeria to release a number of Boko Haram leaders in detention, which they are supposed to know.”

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‘‘If they do it through the ‘modified leadership’ of Boko Haram and they talk with an internationally recognised NGO then Nigeria will be prepared to discuss their release,’’ he said.

Recently, the president told UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York that Nigeria will welcome intermediaries from the UN on the proposed swapping of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls with Boko Haram fighters held in custody.

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