President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, reassured Nigerians that all abducted persons by insurgent groups, including the schoolgirls from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe, would be rescued safely.
Buhari gave the reassurance when he received three rescued lecturers of University of Maiduguri and 10 Police Officers’ wives at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The President said he had directed all security agencies to ensure safety of schools and students in the North-East region and other parts of the country.
Buhari said his administration would not relent until it rescued all those abducted.
He noted that the rescue of the abducted persons on Feb. 10 was a `very huge relief’ to him and to all Nigerians.
“While thanking the security agencies and all those who facilitated this, let me clearly reiterate the resolve of this administration to ensure that all persons abducted by insurgents are rescued or released safely.
“This is especially against the back drop of the recent sad incident where another group of girls were abducted on Feb. 19, from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe.
“I have since directed all security agencies to immediately ensure that every effort is directed to ensure the safety of our schools and students and bring back the abducted girls to their families,’’ he said.
The president told the rescued persons that apart from their family members, every peace-loving Nigerian also prayed for their safety and wished them early release from the hold of their captors.
“While government was fully aware of the expectations of your families and the general public for your immediate freedom, the path to your freedom was painstaking and protracted.
“This was because the group responsible for your abduction was not in a particular location but based in different locations that, if not properly handled, could result in dire consequences.’’
He thanked all the various security agencies for their professionalism throughout the process of the freedom of the rescued persons.
Buhari also lauded other agencies of government, sister nations in the Lake Chad region and the International Committee of the Red Cross for their contribution to the safe release of the abducted persons.
The President also assured that the Federal Government would work closely with all stakeholders to rehabilitate and resettle all those displaced as a result of insurgency.
He identified the UN, donor agencies and other voluntary organisations as some of the stakeholders.
On one of the abductees, Jummai Ibrahim, who was about to complete her service year when she was abducted, the President directed the NYSC to issue a certificate of discharge to her.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Alhaji Lawal Daura, said the abducted NYSC Corps member would have passed out with the last batch in 2017.
According to Daura, the DSS chose the path of negotiation for the release of the victims because it was considered the safest option.
He said: “These negotiations took several months and the Department of State Services with support of the external elements of the group in Diaspora, support from friendly countries and liaison with International Community of the Red Cross, made the rescue possible.
“The process was slow due to the problem of dealing with two different groups based in different locations at the same time.
“In addition, the negotiations took place mostly outside the country, though subsequently finalised in the theatre of operations.’’
The director-general maintained that the negotiation was also centred on the possibility of granting amnesty to those willing to surrender and ready to lay down their arms.
Dr. Solomon Yusuf, who spoke on behalf of the abductees, thanked the government and all Nigerians for ensuring their release.
He said: “While we were in captivity and we said with 180 million or more Nigerians, will Nigeria ever come to rescue us! We lost hope.
“Sir, you surprised us. After seven months for us in the university and eight months for the 10 ladies, Nigeria rescued us. This shows that the life of every Nigerian is important and is worth rescuing.
“Sir, we are grateful. You gave us hope when there was no hope and we are excited, we thank you sir.
“We also want to appreciate the DSS, the Nigerian armed forces and the entire team that worked together to make sure we regained our freedom.’’