The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, said an unnamed negotiator, the Swiss Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross led the negotiation for the release of 82 abducted schoolgirls.
Sani, who had been part of previous negotiations between the Federal Government and Boko Haram, however, declined to speak on the role he played in the release of the girls, who were abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014.
The Senator, also refused to speak on the telephone to one of Punch correspondents but referred him to his posts on his Facebook wall.
In his Facebook posts, Sani stated,
“The negotiations were led by a recent winner of an international humanitarian award, aided by the Swiss (Government) in the mediation process; monitored by the ICRC and made possible by the DSS (Department of State Services).
The spokesperson for the ICRC, Aleksandra Matijevic, told The PUNCH on Sunday that the ICRC’s role was to transport the schoolgirls from a forest, held by the Boko Haram terrorists, to the Army base in Banki town.
She said, “Our role in the release was to ensure the transport of the girls from the armed position to the other side. We transported the girls to the government side and to the military. This took us two days because of bad weather.
“The medical examination of the girls would be the next step after handing them over to the government, but the ICRC is not involved in that.
“You should also note that the negotiation for the girls was a political process, and we, at ICRC, are apolitical. Hence, the transportation was our only role.”
The Deputy Regional Director, ICRC Africa, Patrick Youssef, in a series of tweets, said, “Acting as a neutral intermediary, we ,at the ICRC, transported 82 Chibok girls to the government of Nigeria. Since Friday, we facilitated the safe return of the girls in Nigeria.”
The freed girls arrived in Abuja on Sunday afternoon from Maiduguri aboard a Nigerian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter.
A military source said, “The 82 schoolgirls were brought by a road convoy from a remote area to a military base in Banki, near the Nigerian Cameroonian border. But more than 100 of the girls are still in the hands of the terrorists.”
Leave your views in the comment box below.