Akwa-Ibom state governor and Chairman Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum (PDPGF), Barrister Godswill Akpabio, yesterday said that though negotiations are on-going to free the over 200 Chibok Secondary School girls from the custody of Boko Haram insurgents, no deal has been reached.
This is contrary to earlier reports that the dreaded sect had agreed to cease fire and release the abducted girls to the Federal Government in exchange for some of its detained members.
Akpabio, who briefed newsmen after the Council if State meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa Abuja added that the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) briefed the council on the progress of the talks.
According to him the NSA confirmed that there had been high level discussion with the Republic of Chad and persons who acted on behalf of Boko Haram but no agreement had been reached.
The governor blamed the media for misrepresenting the on-going discussion with the insurgents.
According to him, “The NSA was of the opinion that high level contact with the Republic of Chad was made and that some persons who acted on behalf of Boko Haram and who claimed to have authority also had discussions with them and there are some Nigerian officials with them and of course, no agreement has been reached yet.
“It is just that the press probably misunderstood what was reported, the discussions are on-going.
“What came out of the NSA briefings was that the President will do everything possible to ensure the release of those young girls and to ensure protection of lives and property and that will include dialogue, where you can have the people to dialogue with because you cannot dialogue with people that are faceless and therefore every opportunity must be explored to ensure peace return to the region.”
Also speaking with State House correspondents, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, denied that Nigeria was helpless in the war against the insurgents following the capture of Mubi and his town, Vintim, in Adamawa state.
Responding to a question, he retorted: “How can Nigeria be helpless? If CDS loses his hometown, is is the same thing as losing Lagos? Any part of Nigeria that is lost, the CDS carries the weight. It is immaterial whether it is my hometown, whether it is my house that is burnt or it is Emeka’s house that is burnt. Whoever’s house is burnt in Nigeria, the CDS is pained”.