By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and the Niger State Government have joined hordes of other Nigerians in expressing joy over the safe return of twenty one of the Chibok girls taken into captivity by Boko Haram fighters.
In their separate but related statements, the two said federal government’s efforts in the safe return of the girls was applaudable, commendable, praise worthy and hope assuring.
The Niger State Government in a statement issued by Mr. Jonathan Tsado Vatsa, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Culture, poured praises on President Muhammadu Buhari’s led government over the safe return of the twenty one girls who were among the over 250 Chibok school girls kidnapped and held by Boko Haram members over two years ago.
Mr. Vatsa noted that the release of the Chibok girls had reawakened the hope that the remaining girls still in captivity would soon be released.
In his reaction, former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida in a statement said the return of some of the abducted girls ‘’was a thing of joy, relief for the families and Nigerians in general”.
Babangida noted that the mental agony and torture which families and loved ones of the kidnapped girls went through and the hardship, pains and restiveness the country was subjected to, have been relieved with the release of twenty one of the Chibok girls.
The former leader praised President Buhari for the feat and noted that “the release of the 21 Chibok girls must have been the results of painstaking, delicate negotiations with the Boko Haram insurgents. He said the feat was an indication that President Buhari’s administration was committed to ensuring safe return of all the girls”.
Babangida who expressed optimism that the remaining girls would similarly regained their freedom and be reunited with their families and loved ones, also reaffirmed his belief in the professional capability of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in ensuring a permanent end to acts of terrorism and insurgencies in Nigeria.
“The release of the 21 of the Chibok school girls is heart warming and it is a big plus for the present administration” the former President said.
The statement from the Niger State government had added that the development had proved wrong sceptics and pessimists who had zeroed out on the possible release of the girls. It noted that nothing could have been more reassuring about government’s commitments to bring back the abducted girls than what the federal government had done.
The statement noted that “at the time most Nigerians had lost the hope of seeing even one of Chibok girls alive, today, 21 of the abducted girls have been released and without any hitch. This means there is hope of getting back the rest of the girls still under captivity” it said.
It appealed to Nigerians to continue to pray for the successful release and reintegration of all the Chibok school girls back to their respective homes and families and for the leadership of the country to successfully end insurgency in the North East and all other insurrections across the country.