APPARENTLY elated by the rescue of Amina Ali Nkeki, one of the 219 Chibok School girls abducted on April 14, 2014, by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari, said yesterday, that her recovery has opened a new window of hope to Nigeria and an opportunity towards a vital information.

The President stated that the girl would be given the best care Nigerian government could offer, saying her education would be the priority of government. President Buhari who spoke while receiving the girl, her mother and brother at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday, reassured of his government’s determination towards rescuing other girls still at large.

Nkeki was driven to the villa at about 2:45 pm. in company of her mother, Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, the National Security Adviser, NSA, and the presidential adviser to the President on Social Matters, Maryam Uwais. It was, however, a struggle to catch a glimpse of the girl’s face as presidential aides formed a human shield around her. Besides, her face was heavily veiled to prevent her from public view. Similarly, journalists and photojournalists were not allowed to go closer her as she was taken upstairs to the President’s office. Worse feelings amongst journalists came when the presidential officials returned with a list of apparently preferred media to cover the meeting with the President.

Coverage by foreign media organisations The media included mostly foreign ones, such as Cable News Networks, CNN. Only three local broadcasting stations, including NTA, Channels TV, AIT and TVC, were allowed in. No print journalist was called up to cover the event which lasted about two hours. Giving his remarks, President Buhari said: “Amina will get the best care that the Nigerian government can afford. We will ensure that she gets the best medical, emotional and whatever care that she requires to get full recovery and be integrated into the society.

For the continuation of Amina’s education so abruptly disrupted will definitely be a propriety of the federal government. Amina must be able go back to school. Nobody in Nigeria should be put through the brutality of forced marriage. Every girl has a right to education and their choice of life. Be rest assured that this administration will continue to do what it can to rescue the Chibok girls who are still in Boko Haram’s captivity. Amina’s rescue gives us new hope and offers a unique opportunity to vital information.”

The president who displayed apparent emotion on seeing the rescued girl revealed that medical examination and other traumatic checks had been carried out on her. “Like others all over the world, I’m delighted that Amina Ali, one of the missing Chibok girls has regained her freedom. But my feelings tinged with deep sadness and horrors the girl has had to go through at such an early stage in her life.

Medical personnel from government “Although we cannot do anything to reverse the horrors of her past, the federal government can and would do everything possible to ensure that the rest of her life take a completely different course. Yesterday, medical personnel from government and other NGOs examined her for a total of about five hours, trauma experts from UNICEF also met her.

The Federal Government will assist the Murtala Muhammed Foundation which has already been providing support for the families of the missing Chibok girls and which runs a trauma and counseling facility in Kano. They will also be involved in the ongoing work with Amina in monitoring her progress and any additional support she requires,” he said. Also speaking at the event that took place at the president’s office, Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, said the recovery of the girl was an indication that in the coming weeks, the remaining girls would be rescued.

He expressed gratitude to Buhari’s government for its commitment towards security of lives and property. He recalled that about one year ago, Maiduguri, the State capital was a no-go zone.

“Your patience, persistence, perseverance, doggedness for the restoration of peace in the north east has started to yield dividends. We have to put things in proper perspective. One year ago, nobody could venture out of Maiduguri beyond 15 kilometres. Maiduguri was on the verge of falling into the hands of demented monsters called Boko Haram. We were under siege until God in His infinite mercies intervened with your emergence as president.

“The abduction of the Chibok girls was the point. The world woke up from her slumber when the conscience of the world got pricked. We have to thank you for your efforts in the north east. Boko Haram are now on the defensive and on the run and I am pleased to tell the whole world that not a single local government in Borno or in Yobe or Adamawa is under the control of the Boko Haram. They have been sufficiently degraded and now they have resorted to suicide bombing which is a sign of weakness.

“With mixed feelings, with happiness mixed with sadness because 218 girls are not accounted for but a journey of a thousand miles starts with single steps and the recovery of Amina Ali is a sign of greater things to come as our gallant troops engaged in the counter insurgency operations especially in the Sambisa and the shores of the Lake Chad”, Shettima said.

In a similar vein, the Minister of Defence, Dan Ali, revealed that the rescue of the girl was made possible due to intense military bombardment of the Sambisa forest which he said lasted for 22 days. He stated that about 150 persons held captive in the forest had been freed. The minister, however, stated that the military recorded 69 casualties in the operations.

“What we are celebrating today is your political commitment and support which has given major boost to the success of the fight against terrorism. “The change of military leadership at the inception of this administration injected new ideas and vigour into our military administration. Consequently sir, the armed forces of Nigeria achieved tremendous success by ensuring that the safety of lives and properties and protection of territorial integrity of our country.

“This operation crack down is offensive operation within operation Lafia Dole which started on the 28th of April. It was aimed at clearing Sambisa forest, the haven of Boko Haram terrorists. In that operation, we have been able to clear a lot of villages. Twenty villages have been cleared in the last 22 days of this operation. We have also rescued over 150 in this operation since it started among which we separated our Chibok girl, Amina Ali.

“The officers and men of the Armed Forces have actually been involved in this operation. In these 22 days,we have lost about seven soldiers, three due to enemy action and IEDs, one accidental during clearing of IEDs, and three as a result of road traffic accidents. We have also had some troops injured and they are responding to treatment. We have counted close to about 69 killed in action and we have also captured equipment and also bombed some of their own platform”, he said.

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