President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why the Federal Government chose negotiation rather than the military option to secure the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls and the remaining Chibok girls in the custody of Boko Haram terrorists.
Speaking while receiving the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on Monday at State House in Abuja, he noted that Nigeria prefers to have the schoolgirls back alive.
President Buhari added that the government was working in concert with international organisations and negotiators, to ensure that the girls were released unharmed by their captors.
“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” he said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
The President thanked the United States government for assistance rendered in the fight against insurgency, noting that Nigerian forces are good, “but need assistance in the areas of training and equipment.”
He promised that his administration would continue to do its best to secure the country, shortly after he visited Benue State where he met with stakeholders over the killings in the state.
President Buhari added that he would be in Yobe State later in the week, from where the Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted “as part of my condolence and sympathy visits to areas where we have had unfortunate events.”
With less than one year to the general elections, he promised to ensure free and fair polls.
The President recalled that the then U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, had visited before the 2015 polls, “and he told the party in government then, and those of us in opposition, to behave ourselves, and we did.”
In his response, the visiting U.S. Secretary of State commended President Buhari on his strides in the anti-corruption war, to which the Nigerian leader responded that moneys recovered are being invested on development of infrastructure.
Mr Tillerson described Nigeria as a very important country to the U.S, stressing: “You have our support in your challenges.”
“We will also support opportunities to expand the economy, commercial investments, and peaceful polls in 2019,” he added.