Northern Delegates at the ongoing National Conference have asked the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to secure the release of the over 200 girls abducted from their school in Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram gunmen.
Spokesman of the delegates and former publicity secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani, told The Nation:
“I do not know the government’s stand on the offer made by Boko Haram that it is ready to exchange the abducted girls with the sect’s members who are prisoners.
“Yet I would like to say it is the position of Northern Delegates Forum that government should go as far as effort can go and secure safe release of the abducted girls. More so that experts, from across those countries experienced in such difficult tasks, have offered to help Nigeria secure the release of the girls safely”.
Sani expressed dismay about reports of disagreement among some Nigerians about the intervention of foreign security experts in Nigeria’s search for the abducted girls, describing the news as upsetting.
“Upsetting because there is no basis for the disagreement, considering the over-riding urgent need to rescue the girls which our efforts alone have not yielded the desired result, and the fact that terrorism transcends national boundaries.
“Northern Delegates Forum, therefore, welcomes the offer of other countries to join the Nigerian government’s effort to rescue the abducted girls. There is no room for national pride being hurt in this matter. After all, Nigeria has been helping other countries sort out their security challenges.
“Moreover, it does not matter whether the cat is black, is white, is brown or it is spotted, as long as it can catch the rat.
“And that was why when foreign missions visited Arewa Consultative Forum in the past, the forum appealed to them to come to the aid of Nigeria in the campaigns against the insurgence through sharing of intelligence, training, employment of counter terrorism strategies and operations of security personnel.
“Northern Delegates Forum therefore wishes to appeal to our leaders at all level (be they political, religious and community leaders) and all public spirited individuals and groups with patriotic courage not to bring matter of security challenges into the political cock pit”.
While calling on Nigerians to come together and confront “this national malaise with all sense of seriousness”, Sani restated the Northern Delegates Forum’s call to the abductors of the Chibok girls to release them unconditionally and in the interest of Islam, saying as a peaceful religion, it does not promote violence.