By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has given the assurance that his government would ensure the release of all abducted persons by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents.
The President gave the assurance Today while receiving the recently released lecturers of University of Maiduguri (Unimaid) abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents while prospecting for crude oil in the Lake Chad basin.
Others released alongside the lecturers and also presented to the President were abducted on their way to bury their dead along Damboa Road in Borno state.
The President explained that their rescue took so long because the government opted for negotiation instead of military option which could have dire consequences.
Buhari said “This administration has been unrelenting in your rescue and freedom from your captors several months ago. I was terribly saddened by the incident of the abduction of June 20th last year and the brutal killing of six others on the spot along Damboa road, while heading for the burial of a close one in Askira Uba local government of Borno State.
“The second was the July 26th last year of the abduction of three university staff who were on official mission to explore the the possibility of the exploration of oil at the Lake Chad Basin.
“I can assure that apart from your family members, every Peace loving Nigerian prayed for your safety and wished for your early release from the hold of your abductors.
“Your rescue on the 10th of February this year was a very huge relief to me personally as well as to all Nigerians.
“Let me say that this government treasure all the human lives particularly that of its citizens and following your abductions, the security agencies were directed by me to do everything humanly possible to ensure the safe release of every one of you and other persons under hold of the insurgents.
“While government was fully aware of the expectations of your families and the general public for their immediate freedom, the path to your freedom was painstaking and protracted. This was because the group responsible for your abduction were not only different but based in different locations that if not properly handled could result in dire consequences.
“I thank all the various security agencies for their professionalism throughout this process, as well as other agencies of government, sister nations in the Lake Chad region, the International Committee of the Red Cross who have contributed to this feat of bringing you all home safely.
“While thanking the security agencies and all those who facilitated this, let me clearly reiterate the resolve of this administration to ensure all persons abducted by the insurgents are rescued or released safely. This is especially against the backdrop against the recent incident where another group of girls were abducted on the 19th from of Government Science and Technical Girls College, Dapchi, Yobe State.
“I have since directed all security agencies to immediately ensure that every effort is directed to ensure that safety of our schools and students as well as bringing back the abducted girls to their families.
“Government remains unrelenting towards rescuing all those abducted. Government will also work closely with all stakeholders especially the United Nations and other donor agencies, voluntary organizations towards rehabilitating and resettling all those displaced as a result of all these conflicts, to quicken resumption of meaningful social economic activities.
I remain very mindful of the pains and injury collectively meted out by the insurgents and we will ensure that government does not leave any stone unturned to degrade and contain these insurgents and ensure that complete peace returns to our land.”
The President ordered one of the abductees, Jummai Ibrahim, who was a having her NYSC at the time of her abduction, to be awarded her certificate automatically.
The Director General of the Directorate of State Service (DSS), Lawan Daura, listed those released alongside the lecturers to include Esther Wazari Kwasina and Amina Adams Gomdiya, Gloria Bulus, Paulina Amos, Tani Audu, final year student in the university of Maiduguri, Fustina.
He said “Mr. President, the search of negotiations for the rescued of the victims commenced in earnest following your directives to the effect that all abducted persons should be found and rescued alive. However, we choose the path of negotiation because it was considered as the safest because any forceful attempt to rescue the victims could endanger their lives. These negotiations took several months and the Department of State Services with support of the external elements of the group in diaspora and support from friendly countries and liaising with International Community of the Red Cross, made the rescue possible.
“The process was slow due to the problem of dealing with two different groups based in different locations at the same time. In addition, the negotiations took place mostly outside the country, though subsequently finalized in the theater of operations.