Buhari begs Boko Haram

•Says: Nigeria has suffered enough violence •Threatens persons politicising abductions

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, begged Boko Haram terrorists to cease hostilities and lay down their arms, saying Nigeria has suffered enough violence at the hands of the insurgents.

Hundreds of people have been killed while thousands have been displaced in the North East since Boko Haram started its campaign of violence in 2009.

Receiving newly freed 105 schoolgirls and two primary school pupils from Dapchi, Yobe State, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, President Buhari also threatened that any security chief who allowed lapses in his job would be dealt with.

“We are never in doubt about our focus and direction since the assumption of the administration. Security, anti-corruption and revamping of our economy are the main focus of our government,” he stated.

He added that “government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by any members of the Boko Haram group who show strong commitment in that regard.

“We are ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repentant members into the larger society. This country has suffered enough of hostility. Government is therefore appealing to all to embrace peace for the overall development of our people and the country.”

BREAKING: Boko Haram frees some of 110 kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls

He thanked all Nigerians “who, in spite of political differences, prayed and showed solidarity with families of the abducted students during the period of the abduction,” adding: “This undoubtedly is the Nigerian spirit. We can and should sustain it beyond moments of sorrow.”

“May l also warn those elements who have chosen to make political fortune out of citizens’ misfortune. Government would not tolerate any attempt by any person or group to trivialise or politicise security issues for politically motivated ends.

“Accordingly, security agencies would not hesitate to decisively deal with such unscrupulous characters,” Buhari warned.

He said while the security agencies had since been directed to take measures to protect vulnerable places, they must not be found wanting as failure would be viewed seriously.

Buhari added: “Let me reemphasise our administration’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and insurgency and also call on all Nigerians to join in this task.

“The security services have since been directed to put in place further measures around all schools vulnerable to attacks to ensure the safety of our pupils/students and teachers and school workers.

“I have tasked all the security agencies to work to ensure that we do not witness any recurrence of these incidents.

“Security chiefs have been warned in clear terms that any lapse on their parts will be viewed seriously.”

The president affirmed that Boko Haram insurgents released the Dapchi schoolgirls on Wednesday unconditionally after painstaking back channel negotiations.

He said the government opted for negotiations because it did not want any of the captives to be hurt.

The president said: “I further tasked all appropriate security agencies to safely bring back the girls. We also reached out to our contacts at home and abroad.

“We embarked on back channel shuttles with a clear view to bring to an end, the tragedy. We entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls have been released without any incidents.”

The president gave the assurance that efforts would be intensified to secure the release of all Chibok schoolgirls still in Boko Haram captivity as he appealed to their parents not to lose hope.

“While parents of the Dapchi girls rejoice because of the reunion with their children, I want to appeal to the Chibok community never to lose hope or despair.

“We are determined as never before to bring back our remaining Chibok daughters. And this, we must accomplish. And that will be soon, by God’s grace,” he said.

The president assured the rescued students that they would live freely and pursue their dreams in Nigeria in peace without fear of violence or molestation.

While expressing delight at the release of the girls, the president affirmed his administration’s commitment to the security and wellbeing of Nigerians.

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