Yakubu Nkeki, father of Maimuna Nkeki, one of the abducted Chibok girls, looks on during an interview in Lagos on April 5, 2016. On April 14, 2014 Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from their dormitories at the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, drawing global attention to the Islamist insurgency in northeastern Nigeria. Fifty-seven girls managed to escaped in the hours that followed the attack but two years on and despite international involvement in the search, 219 are still being held captive. / AFP / STEFAN
Agence France-Presse

The Chibok Parents’ Association says former President Goodluck Jonathan did not rescue any of the 219 girls as claimed by Reuben Abati, his former aide.

Speaking on Wednesday, Yakubu Nkeki, chairman of the association, said Abati could only make such claims if it meant that the Jonathan administration rescued some of the girls and kept them away from their parents.

In an interaction with Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abati said the then National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, advised Jonathan against publicising the release so as not to reveal the girls’ identities.

“There was headway. We rescued many of the girls but the advice from the NSA at the time was that we should not publicise it because of the identities of those girls. I witnessed it on many occasions. Those girls were brought to the president,” he said on Arise TV.

“He met with them. In fact, some of them were sent to schools in the United States and the United Kingdom. There were strict instructions not to publicise it because the government thought that the identities of those girls should not be exposed. But I saw you guys making a dance out of the ones you rescued.

“In our time, we rescued some girls but we were under strict instruction not to publicise it. Check the records. The DSS, the intelligence agency, you should ask them. They will have the records.”

Commenting on the development, Nkeki said “Does he mean they rescued some of the Chibok girls and are keeping them somewhere? If that is what he means, then they should immediately release the girls to us.

“What we know is that the Buhari regime negotiated for and secured the release of all the girls we have with us now. Soon after their release, I was called to Abuja to identify them. These girls are currently at the American University of Nigeria, Yola under federal government’s full scholarship.”

At present, 107 girls have been released with 112 still in captivity.

Florence Ozor, the chair #Bring Back Our Girls strategic team, said the group is not aware of such a development either.

“All we know is the number of girls that have been released under Buhari administration and we are not aware of this development,” she said.

“I really don’t understand what the motive would be. How would you secure children from terrorists and the parents and the nation are not aware and you just sent them abroad? There is more to what they are telling us. It will be good if they can make it public because the parents and the nation need to know.”

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