… insists it didn’t pay a dime for release of school girls

Lai Mohammed

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Ilorin– The Federal Government has maintained that it did not pay any ransom to secure the release of the Dapchi girls early this year.

In a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed challenged anyone who has any evidence of payment to publish such.

He said: “It is not enough to say that Nigeria paid a ransom, little or huge. There must be a conclusive evidence to support such claim. Without that, the claim remains what it is: a mere conjecture.”

A United Nation’s report published by an online media on Thursday had accused the Federal government of lying to the world that it did not pay a dime to secure the release of the abducted Dapchi Girls.

But the report insisted that Nigerian government paid large ransome to free the girls in February.

The report reads: “Contrary to the claim by the Nigerian government through the Information Minister Lai Mohammed, the government paid a “large ransom” to free scores of female students kidnapped by the Boko Haram from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State, earlier this year.

Over 100 girls were kidnapped from the Dapchi school by a Boko Haram faction in February this year with about 105 of them later released by the terrorists. One of them, Leah Sharibu, who reportedly refused to denounce her Christian faith, is still with the abductors.

“The report quoted the minister to have told journalists in Maiduguri that, “It is not true that we paid ransom for the release of the Dapchi girls, neither was there a prisoner swap to secure their release

“What happened was that the abduction itself was a breach of the ceasefire talks between the insurgents and the government; hence it became a moral burden on the abductors. Any report that we paid ransom or engaged in prisoner swap is false.

‘’It is not true that we paid ransom for the release of the Dapchi girls, neither was there a prisoner swap to secure their release.”

The report recently submitted to the UN Security Council on Boko Haram and related terrorist organisations, said such ransom and the predominance of cash economy was providing oxygen for the insurgency around the Lake Chad region.

The UN report is titled “22nd Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team”, related to Resolution 2368 (2017) regarding “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – ISIL – (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities.”

Recall that 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state, Nigeria were kidnapped on 18 February 2018 and released on 21 March 2018.

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