Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has insisted that the federal government did not pay ransom for the release of schoolgirls from Dapchi, Yobe state.
A faction of Boko Haram had abducted over 100 girls from Dapchi in February but they were released in March.
At the time of their release, Mohammed told journalists that there was a prisoner swap but no ransom was paid. Leah Sharibu is the only girl that has not been released.
Sharibu is reportedly still held by her captors because she refused to denounce her Christian faith.
A recent UN report said the Dapchi schoolgirls were exchanged “for a large ransom payment”.
“In Nigeria, 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi were kidnapped on 18 February 2018 and released by ISWAP on 21 March 2018 in exchange for a large ransom payment,” the report read in part.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Segun Adeyemi, media aide to the minister, quoted Mohammed as saying there must be evidence to support the claim that ransom was paid.
”It is not enough to say that Nigeria paid a ransom, little or huge. There must be a conclusive evidence to support such claim,” the statement read.
“Without that, the claim remains what it is – a mere conjecture.”