President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday ordered four ministers to proceed to Dapchi in Yobe for an update on the release of the female students abducted in February.
The Ministers include Mansur Dan-Ali, Defence; Abdulrahman Danbazau, Interior; Lai Mohammed, Information; and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim.
The four ministers left the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting for the trip to Dapchi.
Before their departure, the Information Minister confirmed that 76 of the released girls had been documented.
According to him, when the girls were dropped in their school by the abductors many of them went straight home to reunite with their parents.
“I can confirm that the Dapchi girls have been returned, what we can confirm to you is that Mr. President did actually assure Nigerians that the abducted girls would be released, but he also said that violence and confrontation would be ruled out.
“Based on that, the Federal Government with the support of friendly countries embarked on back term negotiations; this back term negotiation has led to the release of these girls.
“What I can confirm today is that these girls were released yesterday, but on the conditions, number one is that they were released unconditionally; no money changed hands.
“Number two, they had one condition to return them to where they picked them.
“So in the early hours of today they did return the girls, most of the girls went to their parents’ homes,’’ Mohammed stated.
According to him, efforts are now being made to document all the girls, adding that at the moment, 76 of them have been documented while “they are still more.’’
He promised to give an update on the incident from time to time.
“It is a day of joy for Nigerians. What I can assure you is that Mr president has kept his promise.
“The girls have been released and we will tell you exactly in a few hours time how many of them have been documented.
“They were not molested,’’ he added.
Also, Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali attributed the early release of the girls to “the effort of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces for the support he has been giving us and the output is showing now.”
On the negotiations, the minister said that while it was being planned the government was prepared to move to a position of strength.
Also Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim said: “I am very excited today. That is what I feel because the Dapchi girls have been released.
“We are very happy. We have achieved what we have gone out to achieve and we thank the Almighty God for his mercies.”
She declined to mention if any of the girls were killed.
“As far as I know now, they are taking a roll call so we cannot ascertain how many have passed on, but we will find out later on what the casualties are.’’
The minister advised parents not to be discouraged by the incident but to continue encouraging their female children to embrace education.
“I will advise parents to continue sending their children to school.
“We as a government will fortify the schools to make sure that they are safe for the children to actually go and learn,’’ Mrs. Abba-Ibrahim said.