President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed inability of his administration to rescue over 100 Chibok schoolgirls still in the custody of Boko Haram to setbacks in negotiation between government and the abductors.
In a message issued to mark the fourth anniversary of the abduction of the girls on Friday evening, the President said the breakdown was due to internal differences among the Boko Haram factions.
Saturday 14 April 2018 will be 4 years since the abduction of our Chibok Girls from their school, Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014.
Out of the 276 school girls that were verified by the Presidential Task Force to have been taken hostage by Boko Haram terrorists, 57 escaped on their own leaving 219 captive.
In October 2016, 24 of them were recovered largely through negotiation by the Federal Government (21), and indirectly from various military operations mounted by the Nigerian Army
On May 2017, 84 more were also recovered through negotiation by the Federal Government, and in December, one of the #Chibokgirls was found along with another abducted young woman, thus bringing the total number of recovered girls to 107, and 112 of the girls yet to be accounted for.
But while assuring the parents of the girls of commitment of his government to the rescue of their daughters, the President said, “Unfortunately, the negotiations between the government and Boko Haram suffered some unexpected setbacks, owing mainly to a lack of agreement among their abductors, whose internal differences have led to a divergence of voices regarding the outcome of the talks.
“We know that this is not the news parents want to hear after four whole years of waiting, but we want to be as honest as possible with you.
“However, this government is not relenting. We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. Don’t give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again. Don’t lose faith in this government’s ability to fulfill our promise of reuniting you with our daughters.
“Don’t imagine for a moment that we have forgotten about our daughters or that we consider their freedom a lost course,’’ the President said.
He further assured the parents of the school girls that were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, that “their daughters will never be forgotten or abandoned to their fate, despite four long years since they were taken away by terrorists.’’
“President Buhari joins the Borno State government, parents of the children and Nigerians in commemorating the fourth anniversary of the sad incident, praying that the event at the school today will go well.
“The President urges the parents to keep their hopes alive on the return of their daughters, noting that the recovery of more than a 100 of the girls that were kidnapped through the Federal Government’s determined effort should give confidence that ” all hope is not lost”.
“President Buhari re-affirms that the government remains focused and determined to see the girls return to their homes, urging the parents to be expectant of more good news in due course.
“We are concerned and aware that it is taking long to bring the rest of our daughters back home, but be assured that this administration is doing its very best to free the girls from their captors.
“President Buhari assures that as long as he remains the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces the Chibok girls will never be forgotten and all will be done to have them reunited with their families,” the President said in the statement signed by Garba Shehu, his spokesperson.