By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The Release Peoples Democratic Party National Caretaker Committee (PDP-NCC) has described the release of 82 Chibok girls held captive by Boko Haram in the past three years as a welcome development.
In a press release issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the party said the ‘detention’ of the girls had brought untold pain not only to the families of the girls but the entire Nigerian citizenry. It however condemned the manner in which freedom for the girls was procured by government.
“The release of 82 chibok girls is a welcome development. The capture and detention of these girls by the Boko Haram terrorists in the last three years had brought extreme pain and suffering not only to their families but to the people of this country and men and women of goodwill all over the world. What is however of great concern is the price paid to secure the release of the girls. According to reports , the girls were released in exchange for the release of suspected Boko Haram terrorists. If that is the case we say it’s a heavy price to pay and an unusual one at that,” the statement reads.
The party argued advanced reasons why exchanging innocent girls for a bunch of criminals was a grave error on the part of government.
“While we welcome the release of the girls, we do not think that exchanging innocent girls for hardened criminals like the terrorists is the right approach for the following reasons:
“The suspected terrorists by the release have escaped justice. And all the effort made by security agencies to bring them to book has come to nothing. The release of the terrorists is a setback for the war on insurgency. Their release is tantamount to releasing them to resume their war against society. Many of them could find their ways back to the terrorists camps from where they could unleash terror against the country. Others who are allowed to roam freely in society could become veritable recruiting agents and purveyors of suicide bombing and urban terrorism.
“The Boko Haram terrorists are emboldened to continue with their tactics of kidnapping innocent people with the belief that they can always use it to blackmail the government to release their members and to extract other concessions.
“The piece meal release of the girls means the terrorists want to extract more concessions from the government which in the end can only prolong the insurgency.
“The release of the girls will increase the agony and high expectancy of the remaining girls still in custody of the terrorists and their families who will be wondering why they have not been so lucky. It therefore would have been better to ensure the release of all the girls at once.
“The negotiations are in clear violation and indeed a direct assault on the generally accepted international principle never to negotiate with terrorists. This international principle is sound and logical because negotiation with the terrorists only fuels their urge to continue with their heinous crimes.”
While acknowledging the concern of President Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring the timely release of the girls, the PDP insists that there are options to explore rather than negotiating with the Boko Haram terrorists.
“We recognize the concern of President Buhari to ensure the earliest release of the chibok girls for domestic and international considerations. We equally are very concerned about the safe return of the girls to their families at the earliest possible time. But we disagree that negotiating with the terrorists is the right approach to achieving the objective, ” it adde