President Muhamamdu Buhari Monday revealed why it took seven months for the three university of Maiduguri lecturers and eight months for the 10 other women, abducted by insurgents in the north east to be freed.
“This administration has been unrelenting in your rescue and freedom from your captors several months ago, he said at the Presidential Villa, Abuja while receiving three University lecturers, one policewoman and nine other women rescued from the insurgents.
“I was terribly saddened by the incident of the abduction of June 20th last year and the brutal killing of six others on the spot along Damboa road, while heading for the burial of a close one in Askira Uba local government of Borno State.
The President who described the road to their freedom as painstaking and protracted, disclosed that this was the abductors were not only different but based in different locations that if not properly handled could result in dire consequences.
“Your rescue on the 10th of February this year was a very huge relief to me personally as well as to all Nigerians.
“Let me say that this government treasure all the human lives particularly that of its citizens and following your abductions, the security agencies were directed by me to do everything humanly possible to ensure the safe release of every one of you and other persons under hold of the insurgents.
“While government was fully aware of the expectations of your families and the general public for their immediate freedom, the path to your freedom was painstaking and protracted. This was because the group responsible for your abduction were not only different but based in different locations that if not properly handled could result in dire consequences.”
Buhari thanked all the various security agencies for their professionalism throughout this process, as well as other agencies of government, sister nations in the Lake Chad region, the International Committee of the Red Cross who contributed to this feat of bringing the abductees home safely.
President Buhari also promised that his administration would ensure the safe return of all those abducted by the Boko Haram sect, including the 110 students of the Government Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State.
He said, “let me clearly reiterate the resolve of this administration to ensure all persons abducted by the insurgents are rescued or released safely. This is especially against the backdrop against the recent incident where another group of girls were abducted on the 19th from of Government Science and Technical Girls College, Dapchi, Yobe State.
“I have since directed all security agencies to immediately ensure that every effort is directed to ensure that safety of our schools and students as well as bringing back the abduct d girls to their families.
“Government remains unrelenting towards rescuing all those abducted. Government will also work closely with all stakeholders especially the United Nations and other donor agencies, voluntary organizations towards rehabilitating and resettling all those displaced as a result of all these conflicts, to quicken resumption of meaningful social economic activities.
“I remain very mindful of the pains and injury collectively metted out by the insurgents and we will ensure that government does not leave any stone unturned to degrade and contain these insurgents and ensure that complete peace returns to our land.
“Once again, I’m pleased to see that all of you are now free and will soon join your loved ones as well as be fully integrated back into the society.
“Nigerians sympathise with you on your ordeal and wish you welcome back to your families and friends.”
President Buhari also directed the Director General of National Youth Service Corps, to issue discharge certificate to Miss Jummai Ibrahim, who was abducted during her service year and should have passed at the end of the last batch in 2017.
Buhari said, “And I suppose the NYSC should give a certificate of discharge to the person that spent the remaining of her Service somewhere else (with abductors).”
In his remarks, Dr. Solomon Nicholas Yusuf , a doctor of Geophysics, who spoke on behalf of the freed abductees, said they will not want to return to their base because of the experience.
He said, “While we were in captivity, we said with 180 million or more Nigerians, will Nigeria ever come to rescue us! We lost hope. Sir, you surprised us. After seven months for us in the university and eight months for the 10 ladies from Askira Uba, Nigeria rescued us. This shows that the life of every Nigerian is important and is worth rescuing.
“Sir, we are grateful. You gave us hope when there was no hope and we are excited, we thank you Sir.
“We also want to appreciate the DSS, the Nigerian armed forces, and the entire team that worked together to make sure we regained our freedom. We appreciate of the labour of love they have shown to us.
“We also want to appreciate Nigerians for praying. We were informed that the entire nation was praying for us and we were excited and we said oh God what is this? This is love. Sir, we are grateful.
“Sir, from the university, it is a golden opportunity for us to see you and to share our fears and concern because we were abducted while working for the nation. And right now going back home to us is still a nightmare because of our experiences. Sir we have this golden plea with all due respect sir, if there is an opportunity for us to be relocated and maybe given another job, Sir, this is our golden request. This is the only opportunity we have to share with you. But we appreciate everything done, the sacrifice you have given to us, thank you Sir.”