—DG DSS explains reason for negotiations
—As rescued lecturer begs Buhari for another job
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, in Abuja, explained that the rescue of the abducted three staff of University of Maiduguri and 10 women by the Boko Haram Insurgents was protracted because government was dealing with two different insurgent groups working at different locations.
This is as the Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Lawal Daura, has said that the service decided to follow the paths of negotiations which he described as safest, stressing that applying force in the rescue operations would have endangered the lives of the abducted.
Meantime, the rescued staff of University of Maiduguri have pleaded with President Buhari to provide alternative job for them as they would not want to go back to Maiduguri because of their horrible experience in the hands of their abductors.
While receiving the rescued victims of Boko Haram at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President said he was worried why the abductees were with their abductors.
According to him, “This administration has been unrelenting in your rescue and freedom from your captors several months ago. I was terribly saddened by the incident of the abduction of June 20th last year of innocent women and the brutal killing on the spot six others along Damboa road, while heading for the burial of a close one in Askira Uba local government of Borno State.
“The second was the July 26 last year of the abduction of three university staff who were on official mission to explore the possibility of the exploration of oil at the Lake Chad Basin.
“I can assure that apart from your family members, every peace loving Nigerian prayed for your safety and wished for your early release from the hold of your abductors.
“Your rescue on the 10th of February this year was a very huge relief to me personally as well as to all Nigerians.
“Let me say that this government treasures all the human lives particularly that of its citizens and following your abductions, the security agencies were directed by me to do everything humanly possible to ensure the safe release of every one of you and other persons under the hold of the insurgents.
“While government was fully aware of the expectations of your families and the general public for their immediate freedom, the path to your freedom was painstaking and protracted.
“This was because the group responsible for your abduction were not only different but based in different locations that if not properly handled could result in dire consequences.
“I thank all the various security agencies for their professionalism throughout this process, as well as other agencies of government, sister nations in the Lake Chad region, the International Committee of the Red Cross who have contributed to this feat of bringing you all home safely.
“While thanking the security agencies and all those who facilitated this, let me clearly reiterate the resolve of this administration to ensure all persons abducted by the insurgents are rescued or released safely.
“This is especially against the backdrop of the recent incident where another group of girls were abducted on the 19th (of February) from Government Science and Technical Girls College, Dapchi, Yobe State.
“I have since directed all security agencies to immediately ensure that every effort is directed to ensure the safety of our schools and students as well as bringing back the abducted girls to their families.
“Government remains unrelenting towards rescuing all those abducted. Government will also work closely with all stakeholders especially the United Nations and other donor agencies, voluntary organizations towards rehabilitating and resettling all those displaced as a result of all these conflicts, to quicken resumption of meaningful social economic activities.
“I remain very mindful of the pains and injury collectively metted out by the insurgents and we will ensure that government does not leave any stone unturned to degrade and contain these insurgents and ensure that complete peace returns to our land.
“Once again, I am pleased to see that all of you are now free and will soon join your loved ones as well as being fully integrated back into the society.
“Nigerians sympathise with you on your ordeal and wish you welcome back to your families and friends.
“And I suppose the NYSC (National Youths Service Corps) should give a certificate of discharge to the person that spent the remaining of her Service somewhere else (with abductors).
Why we decided to negotiate with Boko Haram
Presenting the rescued abductees to the President, the Director General, DSS, Lawal Daura said that any attempt to use brutal force in the efforts to ensure the rescue of the abducted citizens would have had a terrible consequence.
He said it was the safety of the victims that made the security operatives to toe the line of negotiations which he said paid off.
He said, “Mr. President, the search for negotiations for the rescued victims commenced in earnest following your directives to the effect that all abducted persons must be found and rescued alive.
“However, we chose the paths of negotiation because it was considered as the safest because any forceful attempt to rescue the victims could endanger their lives.
“These negotiations took several months and the Department of State Services with support of the external elements of the group in diaspora and support from friendly countries and liaising 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 finalized in the theater of operations.
“The negotiations were mainly centered on an attempt at conflict mitigation which include the fate of arrested members of the insurgent groups especially, accepting to free by government those found not to be culpable in any criminal action.
“Also, possible cessation of hostilities especially the attacks with IEDs on innocent civilians, worship centers, schools and other public places in return for temporary stoppage of air strikes by helicopter gunships.
“Lastly, the negotiation was also centered on the possibility of granting amnesty to those willing to surrender and ready to lay down their arms by the federal government.”
UNIMAID lecturer begs Buhari for job outside Maiduguri
Expressing appreciations to the Federal Government, one of the abducted staff of the university and a lecturer, Department of Geophysics, Dr. Solomon Nicholas Yusuf who spoke on behalf of the abductees, said that they had lost hope of surviving from the abductors.
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 from, 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. We appreciate the labour and love you have shown to us.
“We also want to appreciate Nigerians for praying. We were informed that the entire nation was praying for us and we were excited and we said oh God what is this? This is love. Sir, we are grateful.
“Sir, from the university, it is a golden opportunity for us to see you and to share our fears and concern because we were abducted while working for the nation. And right now going back home to us is still a nightmare because of our experiences.
“Sir, we have this golden plea with all due respect Sir, if there is an opportunity for us to be relocated and maybe given another job, Sir, this is our golden request. This is the only opportunity we have to share with you. But we appreciate everything done, the sacrifice you have given to us, thank you Sir.”
The names of the rescued victims as given by the DSS DG, were, Jummai Ibrahim, who is serving her NYSC at the time of her abduction, she could have passed out at the end of the last batch 2017.
Esther Wazari Kwasina and Amina Adams Gomdiya, Gloria Bulus, Paulina Amos, Tani Audu, final year student in the university of Maiduguri and Fustina.
Recall that the lecturers who were abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents were part of the team on oil exploration at the Lake Chad Basin, while the women were on their way to burial before they were picked by the insurgents.