Avoid Chibok girls’ episode, ex-negotiator warns


A former negotiator and Media Consultant to controversial Islamic cleric, Tukur Mamu, on Sunday, said the conditions of the remaining 23 hostages of the AK-9 Abuja-Kaduna train attack are deteriorating, having spent nearly five months with the terrorists in the forest.

This was just as he said a 21-year-old abductee, Arzurfa Lois, who is still being held hostage by the terrorists, might be married off to the second-in-command in the terrorist’s camp if urgent measures were not taken to secure her release.

Mamu, in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, said he got the information from credible intelligence, urged the Federal Government and the Christian Association of Nigeria to hasten efforts for the release of the remaining hostages, especially Lois.

According to him, failure to act fast may lead to the repeat of the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl married out to bandits in the North-East.

Mamu, who is also the publisher of Kaduna-based Desert Herald newspaper, said, “I believe based on what the bandits were used to before (Chibok and Leah Sharibu), once this is allowed (forced marriage), definitely getting her to be released will be difficult no matter the amount.

“That is why I am insisting that the time for action is now. In many instances, especially as regards to some of the Chibok girls and then Leah Sharibu, there have been efforts to secure their release but have proved difficult over the years.”

Mamu said information from the last batch of the hostages released last Friday indicated that the remaining 23 hostages are in precarious condition.

He noted that there could be casualties among the remaining 23 hostages if nothing was done.

Birnin-Gwari communities negotiating

Meanwhile, the Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressives Union in the Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State has said the communities in the area have resorted to negotiating with bandits to access their farmland.

According to the union, bandits have contacted the communities for negotiations about three years ago only to accept now since all hopes for help from the government are lost.

This was contained in a statement by the union’s chairman, Ishaq Kasai, in Kaduna on Sunday.

The statement read in part, “The Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressives Union observes how farmers in various communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State have become so helpless, and resorted to negotiations with bandits for them to be allowed to access their farmlands and cultivate crops.

“Investigation revealed that the bandits have been contacting these communities for negotiations for about three years, but did not accept until all hopes for help from the government were lost.

“These communities are presently being governed by bandits who are seen moving freely and wielding different types of rifles unchallenged. In fact, the non-presence of democratic government in the area is undoubtable.

“It is therefore based on this situation that the helpless locals were left with no other option than to accept the offer by the bandits for negotiation for access to farmlands.

“These negotiations have allowed farmers in various communities that were sacked before by the bandits (such as Katakaki, Ganda, Mashigi, Ginsa, Biskin, Layin Mai-Gwari, Kwasa-Kwasa and many others) access to their farmlands that were not accessible for about three years ago.”


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