President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the federal government’s readiness to swap the over 200 abducted Chibok schoolgirls with Boko Haram detainees.
The president was addressing journalists in Nairobi, Kenya, at the weekend on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
He reiterated the government’s preparedness to discuss the release of the girls, emphasising that it was ready to take all necessary measures to ensure their freedom.
He, however, stressed that government would only enter into discussions with genuine Boko Haram leaders who know the girls’ whereabouts.
He said authentic leaders of the sect could reach the federal government through an internationally recognised non-governmental organisation and must be able to prove that they are holding the girls.
“I have made a couple of comments on the Chibok girls and it seems to me that much of it has been politicised. What we said is that the government, which I preside over, is prepared to talk to bonafide leaders of Boko Haram.
“If they do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognised non-governmental organisation, convince them that they are holding the girls and that they want Nigeria to release a number of Boko Haram leaders in detention, which they are supposed to know. If they do it through the ‘modified leadership’ of Boko Haram and they talk with an internationally recognised NGO, then, Nigeria will be prepared to discuss for their release,” he said.
The president maintained that the government would not waste time and resources on “doubtful sources”.
“We want those girls out and safe. The faster we can recover them and hand them over to their parents, the better for us,” Buhari said.
On the Niger Delta crisis, Buhari said the government was also open to dialogue to resolve all contending issues in the area.
“We do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more. Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues,” he said.