- Cairo Ojougbo, a member of the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP, said he was part of the negotiation team for the release of the Chibok girls
- As against the statement of the faction of Ahmed Makarfi, Ojougbo commended Buhari's government for securing the release of the girls
The faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Ali Modu Sheriff has revealed why it was very difficult for immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan to get the Chibok girls released.
NAIJ.com reports that the girls, students in Chibok, Borno state, were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group in 2014.
The Sheriff’s faction of the PDP said Jonathan’s administration was on the verge of getting the girls released in May 2014 before this move was scuttled by an unnamed Borno state indigene.
The acting deputy national chairman of the party, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, who spoke in Abuja, said former President Goodluck Jonathan had raised a negotiation committee to liaise with representatives of the insurgent group.
According to him, progress was being made until it was scuttled.
“When in May 2014 we were to receive these girls, we had already committed every resource available, logistics were made but when we got to the negotiating point, the International Red Cross, myself and lady doctor from the SSS, we were disappointed.
“Why were we disappointed? We were disappointed because somebody from within Borno state got wind about the development about the release and scuttled it,” he said.
According to him, the faction of the PDP was happy that up to 82 of the girls had been released.
“In this country today, there is cause for happiness and jubilation over the release of the 82 Chibok girls.
“The PDP welcomes it, the PDP congratulates the president, the armed forces, the embassy and people of Switzerland, especially the International Red Cross, all partners who have worked assiduously for the release of the Chibok girls.
“The attention of the party has been drawn to a statement made by the rebel group criticizing aspects of the release of Chibok girls.
Let us make it clear that the effort and the battle to release the Chibok girls started a long time ago.
“In effect, sometime in May 2014, a consultant of the World Bank visited Nigeria and approached Chief EK Clark and told him that the Chibok girls were alive and they could be rescued.
“Chief EK Clark made contact with the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, and he authorized Chief Clark to nominate a trustworthy person to negotiate on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria for the release of the Chibok girls.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud today to tell you that I am the one who was nominated to negotiate the release of the Chibok girls.”
He continued: “The party that was put together on behalf of the government of Nigeria are the following persons: the then director of SSS, the then Chief of Defence Staff, General Badeh; the Chief Security Officer to Mr President then, and my humble self.
“Senator Shehu Sani and a particular businessman and owner of a school in Borno that I cannot call his name for obvious reasons, were the people who contacted the persons to represent Boko Haram.
“And we held series of meetings – the International Red Cross, the Embassy of Switzerland, we took these representatives of Boko Haram to the International Red Cross and to the Embassy of Switzerland.
“They gave us time, they studied what information we had and they approved it.
“Arrangements were made to release the Chibok girls sometimes in May 2014.
“Provisions were made, persons were gathered. I went for the meeting for the exchange, conditions were set. The conditions that were set involved the release of the Boko Haram prisoners.
“When the Boko Haram representatives met us first, what they told us was that 10 of their malams were arrested in Bauchi when they were praying.
“When we took information to the SSS and to then Chief of Defense Staff, General Badhe, they laughed.
“They said, no. These people they gave us their names, which I still have till today, they are not malams. They were hard and toughened Boko Haram terrorists.
“We took the information to Mr President, Mr President then said: ‘look, whatever it takes to release the Chibok girls,’ any swap that these people demand, I approved it’. Jonathan approved it.”
He noted that the swap deal that ensured the release of the girls was initiated by the Jonathan government.
“When Jonathan left office, the International Red Cross, the embassy and people of Switzerland, the then ambassador of the Switzerland and the current one continued with the process.
“We are very happy that these 82 girls have been released, we are also very concerned about the remaining girls and we urge the federal government to continue this process of negotiations.”
Watch how a Nigerian group marked the third anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok girls: