8 May 2017

Nigeria: Chibok Girls - Govt Blasts Makarfi PDP for Opposing Prisoner Swap With Boko Haram

Photo: Daily Trust
82 Chibok girls addressed by President Muhammadu Buhari at his residence

The Federal Government says the incautious statement by a faction of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, criticising the process leading to the release of the 82 Chibok girls further exhibits the party's disdain for human life.

In a statement issued on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described the statement as "indecent, inhuman and ill-timed."

The Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP had criticised the release of Boko Haram suspects in exchange for the 82 Chibok girls.

"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," Dayo Adeyeye, spokesperson of the faction said.

In response, Mr. Mohammed, in the statement signed by his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi, said it was insensitive for any individual or organisation to spoil the joy that heralded the release of the girls because of politics.

"It is clear that the kind of disdain for human life which the PDP exhibited in its incautious statement is the same reason the poor girls were kidnapped in the first instance.

"It is also this attitude the then PDP-controlled Federal Government took that seemed an eternity before even acknowledging the abduction, thus losing critical time for their rescue.

He noted that from the statement, it was clear that the PDP, whose incompetence and cluelessness precipitated the Chibok girls' crisis was not wishing and praying for it to end with the safe return of the abducted girls.

The minister recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had stated that the defeat of Boko Haram would not be complete without the rescue of the Chibok girls.

"If that includes swapping some Boko Haram elements for the girls, so what? Will the PDP rather have the girls stay in perpetual captivity, just to prove a ludicrous point?

"Didn't superpower United States engage in negotiations with the Taliban that led to the exchange of five Taliban fighters for US Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl in 2014?

"Didn't Israel release 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit in 2011?

"A lot of factors come into play when a nation has to decide whether or not to engage in prisoner/hostage swap.

"None, however, trounces the sanctity attached to human life and the consideration for the pains of the loved ones of those involved," he said.

The minister stressed that since the PDP failed to rescue even one of the Chibok girls, the party should hold its peace while the administration continued to seek the release of all the abducted girls, using every means at its disposal.

He reassured that the administration would continue to work assiduously to end all Boko Haram hostilities.

With the latest release of the 82 Chibok girls, over 80 of the 276 girls kidnapped from Chibok in Borno State now remain with the Boko Haram whose insurgency has caused about 100,000 deaths since 2009.


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