Monday, 1 September 2014
Powerful Nigerians Don’t Want Chibok Girls Rescued - Negotiator
Some powerful Nigerians are sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government and other concerned citizens to ensure that the over 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are set free.
This was disclosed by the President, Civil Rights Congress, Mr. Shehu Sani, in a recent exclusive interview with SUNDAY PUNCH. Sani, who has been involved in efforts to get government and Boko Haram to discuss the fate of the girls in the past, said some powerful individuals, whom he refused to name, ensured that the talks derailed. But that government has begun fresh talks with the group to secure the release of the girls.
“What I want to tell you is that something is being done about it but I’m not disposed to making it public. Most times, publicising these issues always lead to sabotage by those who do not want the girls freed. I will not mention the names of these Nigerians. However, I can tell you that real and genuine moves are going on, which I am a part of. The claim that the girls have been abandoned is not true. There are genuine efforts by government and some individuals, who are discreetly making efforts toward getting their (pupils’) safe return home.”
Reports have claimed that the girls who were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, have been sighted in camps inside Sambisa Forest, in some border towns near Cameroon and in the Central African Republic. The human rights activist noted that the girls could only be freed either forcefully or through dialogue and negotiation.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Sani; and a United Arab Emirates-based Nigerian freelance journalist, Ahmad Salkida, who had communication channels with Boko Haram, had offered to mediate between the government and the sect. But none of these efforts have yielded fruits.
He added that the foreign intervention sought by some Nigerians had not produced results.
The United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Israel had offered to assist Nigeria in rescuing the school girls. Both the US and the UK had sent security experts and technology to locate the abductees and secure their release. While the US claimed to have located the girls, France had specifically opposed negotiations with the sect. Speaking on efforts made by these countries so far, Sani said:
“I am not aware of any serious efforts made by any foreign country. I am not aware of what is happening on the side of the US forces. From the side of dialogue or negotiation, I have not seen any serious intervention or involvement of these countries.”