More than Two dozen of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls have been released by Boko Haram, Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu confirms.
Their release is the outcome of negotiations between the government and the sect, which was brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government.
Shehu said the negotiation is still ongoing – this is expected to lead to the release of more of the girls.
South African and #BringBackOurGirls groups have described the action as a positive development, the release of 21 of the more than 200 abducted Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram insurgents in April 2014.
Report reaching us stated that a military helicopter picked them up from Banki area of Borno state where the terrorists dropped them off.
No fewer than 276 of them were abducted on 14th April, 2014 at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno state.
About 57 of them escaped and the unlucky ones have remained with the abductors since then.
Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, President, Nigeria Union, South Africa, commended Nigeria for the efforts to release the girls.
Anyene told the NAN on phone from Pretoria, South Africa, on Thursday that Nigerians in that country were pleased with the release.
He said that the Geneva based group that negotiated the release had touched many souls and hearts.
“This is good news for all Nigerians; we thank the group that helped negotiate the release of the girls. We also pray that they continue working until all the girls are freed.
“Nigerians in South Africa are happy with the development and will continue to pray for the release of the remaining girls,” he said.
Anyene also urged Nigerians to accept the returnees as their own to give them a sense of belonging.
“Indeed, we are happy with the release of the girls and hope that one day, the remaining girls will also be freed,” he said.
In May 2016, one of the girls, Aminat Nkeki was found with a baby and a suspected Boko Haram member, Mohammed Hayatu, claimed to be her husband, and has since been detained.
The #BringBakOurGirls group has also commended the government for negotiating the release of the girls.
The leader of the group and former education minister, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, said in her twitter handle that the release had reinvigorated the believe of the group that President Buhari will do everything to get the rest 197 girls.
“Today begins the journey of recovery, restoration, reintegration for our group.
“We are profoundly grateful to our federal govenrment and President Buhari, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government.
“Imagine how it feels for parents of girls to behold and hug their daughters after 913 days of their captivity.’’
She said her group have endlessly “hoped against hope’’.
Today is 898 days of daily advocacy for our #ChibokGirls. With tears of unspeakable joy at the release of our #ChibokGirls.
Nigeria’s information and culture minister Lai Mohammed said no swap deal was involved in the negotiation and release of the 21 of the more than 200 abducted schoolgirls.
The Minister who made the disclosure this afternoon in Abuja also said that government has assembled doctors, nurses and paramedics to examine the girls.
“Medicals are being arranged for them,” he said.
The release attests to the government’s commitment to ensuring the freedom of the abducted girls and others still in captivity.
“Government will release names of the girls after proper examination and screening and contact with their parents.
“The girls will also undergo psychological examination to ascertain their state of mind.’’
Meanwhile, the Bring Back Our Girls Group has commended the government for the effort which led to the release of the girls.
Government had said that the release was made possible following negotiation brokered by the International Red Cross and Swiss government.