The president met with the girls in the Presidential Villa after they were released two days ago.
President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Dapchi schoolgirls, who were released by Boko Haram terrorists days ago, in the Presidential Villa on Friday, March 23, 2018.
The schoolgirls had been kidnapped by the terrorists on February 19, 2018, during an attack on their school but were released on Wednesday, March 21 to wild jubilation in Dapchi.
According to official figures from the Federal Government, only 104 of the girls were released alongside one boy and another girl who were unconnected to the Dapchi abduction.
However, in a statement released by President Buhari’s Personal Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, the president claim that 107 girls were released by the group after he met them on Friday.
He said, “I am delighted to formally announce to Nigerians this morning and our International friends and partners that One Hundred and Seven (107) Dapchi students previously abducted, have been unconditionally released by their abductors.”
The president’s claim is in contrast to previous released figures as five of the girls had previously been reported to be dead, with another one still with the terrorists.
One of the released schoolgirls, Khadija Grema, told Channels Television on Wednesday that five of her schoolmates died of heart attack and stress as a result of the long trip while the terrorists have held on to 15-year-old Leah Sharibu for religious reasons.
Even though President Buhari has commented on the fate of Sharibu who’s still being held for failing to convert from Christianity to Islam, the Federal Government has failed to comment on the five remaining girls that have been reported dead by their schoolmates.
Inuwa Garba, the father of one of the dead girls, told Associated Press on Thursday, March 22 that some of the released girls told him that his 16-year-old daughter was the first to die and was buried in the bush alongside the other four.
No ransom paid for girls – FG
The Federal Government has categorically denied reports that it paid a ransom to Boko Haram to secure the release of the girls.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the “unconditional” release of the girls was as a result of back-channel efforts achieved through “the help of some friends of the country”.
Boko Haram militants invaded Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, Bursari local government area of Yobe on Monday, February 19, 2018, and abducted 110 schoolgirls.
According to accounts by residents, the terrorists invaded the town around 7 pm in over 18 gun trucks mounted with high caliber weapons.
The abduction was a repeat of another Boko Haram attack that happened when militants invaded Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok and kidnapped 276 female students in April 2014.
After several escapes and releases, 112 of the girls remain in captivity of the deadly terrorist group.