- The recent release of 82 Chibok girls is said to be part of Boko Haram's strategy to maximize the value of the kidnaped victims
- The bargaining process in which Boko Haram releases school girls in exchange for its lieutenants is likely to continue
- For more reports on Boko Haram, please visit: https://www.naij.com/tag/boko-haram.html
John Campbell, Senior Fellow for Africa at Council for Foreign Relations has described Boko Haram’s release of eighty-two girls to the Nigerian government to be part of its strategy to maximize the value of the Chibok kidnapping victims.
NAIJ.com gathered that Maiduguri and Chibok in Borno state were agog on Sunday, May 7 when reports filtered into the state about the 82 girls released by Boko Haram.
According to Campbell, Boko Haram successfully demanded the release of five Boko Haram imprisoned leaders in return for the eighty-two girls in a deal brokered by a lawyer whose clients once included Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf.
The negotiation process was also facilitated by the Red Cross and the Swiss government.
If the Chibok girls are alive, Boko Haram still has more than one hundred school girls in captivity.
Campbell also reports that a bargaining process in which Boko Haram releases school girls in exchange for the return of its incarcerated lieutenants is likely to continue.
The international recognition has made the Chibok victims far more valuable to Boko Haram than the hundreds or thousands of other kidnapping victims it holds.
He said: "Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has consistently said, that he would exchange the girls for operatives held by the Nigerian government. But, Abuja resisted such an exchange, presumably on the basis that it could strengthen the terrorist movement.
With the dislodging of Boko Haram from the territories it once held, Abuja may now feel strong enough the release some of its Boko Haram captives in return for Chibok schoolgirls."
The eighty-two newly freed girls arrived at about 7.04pm on Sunday, May 7, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari before he returned to London on medical leave.
For now the Nigerian government has not allowed any of them to return to their families pending medical care.
Earlier, NAIJ.com reported that Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said that there is nothing for Nigerians to worry about over the Boko Haram insurgents swapped with 82 Chibok girls because security agencies were in full control.
He said: “When there is ability and capacity to ensure security there is no need to worry, the north-east is under the effective control of the security agencies."
Watch this NAIJ.com TV video of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group members protesting the non-release of the girls months back.