President, Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said his administration decided to negotiate with Boko Haram on the release of the Dapchi girls in order to ensure their safety.
Buhari, who received the girls in Abuja on Friday said government was committed to the war against terrorism and the safety of Nigerians.
“We entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls have been released without any incidents.
“I made a solemn pledge on my word of honour that this Administration would do everything possible to ensure the unconditional release of the girls.
“I further tasked all the appropriate security agencies to safely bring back the girls. We also reached out to our contacts at home and abroad. We embarked on back-channel shuttles with a clear view to bringing to an end this tragedy,” he said.
“Let me reemphasize our Administration’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and insurgency, and also call on all Nigerians, to join in this task. The security services have since been directed to put in place further measures around all schools vulnerable to attacks to ensure the safety of our pupils/students and teachers and school workers.
“I have tasked all the security agencies to work to ensure that we do not witness any recurrence of these incidents. Security Chiefs have been warned in clear terms that any lapse on their part will be viewed seriously,” he added.
Buhari assured the rescued students that they would freely live and pursue their dreams in Nigeria of peace and order, without fear of violence or molestation.
He appealed to the Chibok Community never to lose hope or to despair, as government was determined as never before, to bring back the remaining Chibok daughters.
“While further efforts are being made to secure the release of every abducted citizen in Nigeria, government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by members of the Boko Haram group, who show strong commitment in this regard. We are ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repentant members into the larger society.
“This country has suffered enough of hostility. Government is, therefore, appealing to all to embrace peace for the overall development of our people and the country. May I also warn those elements who have chosen to make political fortune of our citizens’ misfortune. Government would not tolerate any attempt by any person or group to trivialize or politicize security issues for politically motivated ends. Accordingly, security agencies would not hesitate to decisively deal with such unscrupulous characters,” he warned.
Finally, I thank all Nigerians, who in spite of political differences, prayed and showed solidarity with families of the abducted students, during the period of the captivity.
This, undoubtedly, is the Nigerian spirit. We can and should sustain it beyond moments of sorrow. I remain thankful to the International Community and our friends who offered varying degrees of assistance during the back-channel communications.