The Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Aisha Alhassan has indicated that the government is ready to swap Boko Haram members for the rest of the Chibok girls without regret.
She said at a press conference on Thursday in the capital Abuja that negotiations are ongoing and if the government had its way “the girls will be released tomorrow”, local news portal Vanguard reported.
“We cannot say when the girls will be released, if they will release the remaining girls for their members we will gladly do that and we don’t regret our actions,” Senator Aisha Alhassan said.
82 Chibok girls were released last Saturday in exchange for Boko Haram militants. 113 girls are still with the terrorist group.
We cannot say when the girls will be released, if they will release the remaining girls for their members we will gladly do that and we don’t regret our actions.
Aisha Alhassan said her outfit is taking care of the rehabilitation of the 82 girls who will undergo medical tests and a reintegration programme.
She added that photographs of the 82 girls have been sent to Chibok and surrounding villages to enable the parents verify and confirm the identities of their daughters.
“Those saying we are not allowing them access are not the direct parents of the girls; we cannot bring anybody to see them apart from their biological parents, allowing visitors everyday will not allow them to heal fast,” she debunked claims of limited visits.
In April 2014, 276 girls were abducted after their school was raided in the northern town of Chibok.
Over 50 girls managed to escape at the time, leaving 219; and in May 2016, another girl escaped.
Later in October last year, 21 girls and a baby were released after negotiations facilitated by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government.
A girl was also found by Nigerian troops on January, 5, 2017 with a baby and confirmed to be one of the missing Chibok schoolgirls. Another girl was also rescued in the Sambisa forest where the group is based.
The release of the 82 comes a few weeks after marking three years since the girls were abducted.