According to reports, the Nigerian military said on Saturday that no ransom was paid for the release of the 21 Chibok girls freed by the Boko Haram.
The girls were among the over 200 female students kidnapped from their government owned school in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014. Scores of the remaining g girls are still with the insurgents.
The federal government had in October denied swapping Boko Haram members in detention for the freed girls, saying the release was “the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.”
On Saturday, the military spokesperson, Rabe Abubakar, said reports of payment of ransom were not true.
The statement reads in full; “The attention of Defence Headquarters (DHQ), has been drawn to a news story by the Punch newspapers alleging that ransom was paid by the government in exchange for the recently released of 21 of the abducted Chibok girls.
This unsubstantiated story, to say the least, is quite unfortunate. It is important to recall here that several statements have been issued by the military high command to clarify the issue surrounding the release of the girls, which the whole world applauded. It is therefore worrisome that some sections of the media continue to undermine this modest effort of the government, security agencies and other stakeholders. It is imperative to state categorically that the sponsors of this media campaign have a hidden agenda which is best known to them.
“The military and other security agencies will not be distracted and would remain focussed in achieving its objectives in the North East. The important thing is that the release have been made and circumstances surrounding this effort should not be a matter of controversy so as not to overheat the polity and jeopardising the ongoing efforts to secure the release of the remaining girls and other innocent citizens still in captivity of the terrorists.
“The insinuations that ransom was paid to the terrorists which the terrorists used to escalate the recent attacks in the North East is completely false and imagination of the author. The general public should therefore discountenance it in its entirety.
“The DHQ wishes to once more remind the media to be cautious of such reports which has serious implication on national and to further add that, as partners in progress, the media also has a stake in the ongoing efforts to restore lasting peace in the North East and the country in general.”