Both the Presidency and the Nigerian military have reacted to the revelation by Ahmad Salkida, a journalist closely investigating the Boko Haram insurgency, that all but 15 of the remaining 113 abducted Chibok girls were now deceased, with the 15 married off.
Salkida made the shocking revelation via his twitter handle Saturday on the 4th anniversary of the abduction.
Reacting, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Salkida’s claim was unknown to the presidency.
In a statement, Shehu said no such information had been gleaned from the either the insurgents or the international mediators working with the government.
The presidential spokesman noted that Salkida was not involved in the process that led to the release of over 100 girls and is also not involved in the current efforts aimed at securing the release of the remaining girls.
Shehu said the information at the disposal of government showed that the girls were alive, adding that government would not relent in securing their release.
He said, “We wish to confirm that Mr. Salkida is not involved, on behalf of the Nigerian government in the processes leading to the release of the over 100 Chibok girls that have returned to their families, so far , and is not involved in the current processes to secure the release of those still held in captivity.
“If there is any information he has concerning the remainder of those girls, he has, up till this moment not approached the government of Nigeria with it. All press enquirers on the subject should therefore be directed to Mr. Salkida.
“The facts as known to our officials and the international contacts assisting this process are that the remaining Chibok girls are there and we are not relenting on getting their release.
“As stated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, the government is not relenting. We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. They are also advised not to lose faith in this government’s ability to fulfil its promise that the girls will not be abandoned or forgotten.”
In similar vein, John Agim, defence spokesman, said the report that only 15 of the 113 missing Chibok schoolgirls were alive was meant to discourage the government.
Agim said it was not the first time that the girls were said to have been killed or married off.
He added that despite such claims, the government went ahead to secure the release of some of them.
“They are only trying to discourage the government,” Agim said.
“In our operations, we have rescued hundreds of people in Boko Haram captivity, and when we profile them, most are not Chibok girls. But, look at when they first said the girls had been married off, we were able to secure the release of some of the girls.
“Every time, they are always saying the girls have been killed, we continue to secure their release just like we did recently.”
Agim’s remarks were based on enquiries by TheCable.
RipplesNigeria… without borders, without fears
Join the conversation
SPECIAL REPORT: Displaced residents of Zamfara battle hunger, as underfunding derails Nigeria’s nutrition goals
On paper, Muhammad Zayyanu is seven years old. The quiet boy who looks shorter for his age could not recollect...
INVESTIGATION: N7.3bn paid for unnamed projects; how Nigerian govt spent N2.2trn in six months
Analysing nearly 3,000 payments made by various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over the previous six months (January...
INVESTIGATION… Delay rocks Nigerian govt’s promise of N30,000 covid-19 relief for artisans, others
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, 2020, Chukwudi Okoroigwe’s daily earnings as a bus driver was hardly enough to cater to the...
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...
INVESTIGATION….N.3bn down the drain: Why water projects for Enugu communities don’t work
In this concluding part, ARINZE CHIJIOKE talks about some of the projects that are serving the people and how various WASH programmes have failed to tackle...