Following the release of 21 of the Chibok girls, the Global Excellence Foundation (GEF) has challenged the Nigerian military to build on the current success in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency and ensure that every Nigerian held captive by the terrorist group is freed.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, country Director of GEF, Professor Ola Yemi said there are people that are still held by Boko Haram that are not known to the public because they do not enjoy the kind of media attention like the Chibok girls.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for beginning to fulfil this specific campaign promise of securing the release of the girls who were abducted long before he came into office, Yemi reserved special praise for the gallantry of the Nigerian military.
He said Nigeria’s military have proven to the world that terrorism can be defeated with the right approach and a determination to place national interest above all other narrow considerations.
According to him, at the time the girls were abducted no one dared think the girls would be released by the terrorists in this manner, adding that a degradation of Boko Haram’s fighting capabilities has however ensured that they are releasing their captives as part of their acceptance of talks with the government.
He said, “we however want to appeal to the military to remain focused on neutralising the threat posed by unrepentant Boko Haram terrorist – those that have refused being part of the ongoing talks with the government. The ongoing negotiations must not be allowed to become a cover for those that are patently evil to regroup while we are rejoicing at the release of the captive girls.
“The reality is that the insurgency is not over until the last of the hardened terrorists has given up their weapons. Our challenge therefore is for the military to remain focused as victory is not secured until all is over.
“The military must, under the current development, reassess its promise to rescue the last person held hostage by the terrorist. We say this because there are people that are still held by Boko Haram that are not known to the public because they do not enjoy the kind of media attention around the released girls.
“This will be consistent with the more than 5000 persons troops have freed from Boko Haram’s captivity
Meanwhile, we want to appeal to the wife of the president, Mrs Aisha Buhari to galvanise women support for her husband. Her recent interview in which she alluded to withdrawing support for President Buhari in 2019 is a distraction that is not needed at this moment. The hectic fallout from her interview detracted from the joy the girls’ release.”