President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said he had no new intelligence on the whereabouts of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped almost two years ago, and that his government was ready to negotiate with any “credible leadership” of Boko Haram to secure their release.
A total of 276 girls were taken from their school in the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014 by Boko Haram fighters, in a case that made global headlines.
Several dozen girls managed to escape soon afterwards, but nothing has been seen or heard from around 200 of them since a video in May 2014.
“We are prepared to negotiate without conditions with credible Boko Haram leadership,” Buhari said in his inaugural presidential media chat broadcast on radio and television.
He added that he had no firm intelligence on where the girls were or the state of their health.
“That is the honest truth,” he said.
Before any negotiations can begin “we are looking for a credible Boko Haram leadership that will confirm that the girls are alive,” Buhari added.
Over 17,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram’s six-year quest to create an independent Islamic state in Nigeria.