We’re ne­go­ti­at­ing Dapchi, Chi­bok girls’ res­cue –Pres­i­dent

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Olalekan Ade­tayo, Abuja

PRES­I­DENT Muham­madu Buhari on Mon­day said the de­sire of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was to have the school­girls ab­ducted by the Boko Haram sect from Chi­bok and Dapchi back alive.

He said that was why his ad­min­is­tra­tion chose ne­go­ti­a­tion, rather than mil­i­tary op­tion, to se­cure their re­lease.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by his Spe­cial Ad­viser on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the Pres­i­dent spoke while re­ceiv­ing the United States Sec­re­tary of State, Rex Tiller­son, at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja.

Adesina quoted the Pres­i­dent as say­ing that nige­ria was work­ing in con­cert with in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions and ne­go­tia­tors, to en­sure that the girls were re­leased un­harmed by their cap­tors.

“We are try­ing to be care­ful. it is bet­ter to get our daugh­ters back alive,” the Pres­i­dent said.

Buhari thanked the US for the as­sis­tance ren­dered in the fight against in­sur­gency, not­ing that “nige­rian forces are good but need as­sis­tance in the ar­eas of train­ing and equip­ment.”

The Pres­i­dent promised that his ad­min­is­tra­tion would con­tinue to do its best to se­cure the coun­try, adding that he would be in Yobe State, from where the Dapchi school­girls were ab­ducted, later this week “as part of my con­do­lence and sym­pa­thy vis­its to ar­eas where we have had un­for­tu­nate events.”

He pledged free and fair polls in 2019, re­call­ing that the then Amer­i­can Sec­re­tary of State, John Kerry, had vis­ited be­fore the 2015 polls, “and he told the party in gov­ern­ment then, and those of us in op­po­si­tion, to be­have our­selves, and we did.”

The vis­it­ing Sec­re­tary of State com­mended Buhari for his strides in the anti-cor­rup­tion war, to which the nige­rian leader re­sponded that money re­cov­ered was be­ing in­vested in de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture.

Tiller­son said nige­ria was a very im­por­tant coun­try to the U.S, stress­ing that “You have our sup­port in your chal­lenges. We will also sup­port op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand the econ­omy, com­mer­cial in­vest­ments, and peace­ful polls in 2019.”

Mean­while, the Min­is­ter of Women Af­fairs and So­cial De­vel­op­ment, Aisha Al­has­san, has said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to the pro­tec­tion of rights of vul­ner­a­ble per­sons, par­tic­u­larly women and chil­dren, in line with in­ter­na­tional laws.

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