Buhari: I’ll accept Boko Haram surrender

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday at the State House in Abuja received the freed Dapchi schoolgirls and expressed readiness to accept an unconditional surrender of arms by Boko Haram members.

The president also said his government was ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repentant insurgents into the larger society.

“While further efforts are being made to secure the release of every abducted citizen in Nigeria, government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by any member of the Boko Haram group who shows strong commitment in that regard. We are ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repentant members into the larger society,” he said.

The president emphasised that security chiefs had been warned in clear terms that any lapse on their parts would be viewed seriously.

He said he had also tasked all security agencies to work to ensure that the nation does not witness any reoccurrence of abduction of school children.

He said they had since been directed to put in place further measures around all schools vulnerable to attacks to ensure the safety of pupils/students as well as teachers and school workers.

Reiterating his administration’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and insurgency, Buhari urged all Nigerians to join in this task.

The president, who said the country had suffered enough hostility, appealed to all to embrace peace for the overall development of the nation.

Buhari also warned those who have chosen to make political fortune out of citizens’ misfortune, saying government would not tolerate any attempt by any person or group to trivialize or politicize security issues for politically motivated ends.

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

He said: “I am delighted to formally announce to Nigerians this (yesterday) morning and our international friends and partners that one hundred and seven (107) Dapchi students previously abducted have been unconditionally released by their abductors. This cheery and hearty development signifies our commitment to the security and wellbeing of all Nigerians. 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. You will recall that on the 14th of this month, l paid a visit to Yobe State during which l sympathised with parents, families, government and people of Yobe State for the tragic abduction of the students in Dapchi. I made a solemn pledge on my word of honour that this administration would do everything possible to ensure the unconditional release of the girls. I further tasked all appropriate security agencies to safely bring back the girls.”

He said the government reached out to its contacts at home and abroad. “We embarked on back channel shuttles with a clear view to bring to an end the tragedy.”

He explained that the government entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt, noting that this strategy paid off as the girls were released without any incident.

Buhari reassured the rescued students that they would freely live and pursue their dreams in Nigeria of peace and order without fear of violence or molestation.

He said as parents of the Dapchi girls rejoiced because of the reunion with their children, he appealed to the Chibok community never to lose hope or despair, saying his administration was determined as never before to bring back the remaining Chibok daughters.

“And this, we must accomplish. And that will be soon by God’s grace,” the president assured.

Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, 14-year-old Fatima Bashir, a JSS 3 student, thanked Buhari for saving their lives and bringing them out alive.

The governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam, was conspicuously absent at Buhari’s meeting with the girls.