By Levinus Nwabughiogu
PARIS–President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in France stated that his government has kicked off negotiations with Boko Haram to secure the release of over 200 Chibok girls.
It will be recalled that about 219 school girls were abducted by the Sect from their school in Chibok Community, Borno State over a year ago.
Speaking with members of the Nigerian community in France under the auspices of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), president who is currently on a three day official visit to the frnech country stated that the global attention and sympathy the ugly incident has attracted informed the negotiation.
He however disclosed that the government was making frantic effort to determine the genuine leaders of the group.
President Buhari also vowed not to release the developer of the Sect’s IED’s which according to him was a condition advanced by the Group of releasing the girls.
He said: “The issue of Chibok girls has occupied our minds and because of the international attention it drew and the sympathy through out the country and the world, the government is negotiating with some of the Boko Haram leadership.”
“It is a very sensitive development in the sense that first we have to establish, are they genuine leaders of the Boko Haram. That is number one. Number two, what are their terms, the first impression we had was not very encouraging.
“They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making Improvised IEDs that is causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing people in Churches, Mosque, market places, motor parks and other places. But is very important that if we are going to talk to any body, we have to know how much he is worth.
According to him, “Let them bring all the girls and then, we will be prepared to negotiate, I will allow them to come back to Nigeria or to be absolved in the community. We have to be very careful, the concern we have for the Chibok girls, one only imagine if they got a daughter there between 14 and 18 and for more than one and a half year, a lot of the parents who have died would rather see the graves of their daughters rather the condition they imagine they are in.”
He added that “This has drawn a lot of sympathy though out the world, that is why this government is getting very hard in negotiating and getting the balance of those who are alive.”
President Buhari also assured the Nigerian community that his government would revitalise the economy and restore the glory days of Nigeria.
Some members who fielded questions requested the president to factor in the sufferings of the disabled in the Country just as they also asked to be accorded voting rights during elections.