The Federal Government said a total of 106 abducted persons, comprising 104 Daphi schoolgirls, one other girl and a boy were freed by insurgents in the early hours of Wednesday.
Briefing journalists in Maiduguri, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said all the 106 persons were freed unconditionally, contrary to reports in a section of the media that ransom was paid and that some insurgents were swapped for the freed persons, a statement by the minister’s assistant, Segun Adeyemi said.
”It is not true that we paid ransom for the release of the Dapchi girls, neither was there a prisoner swap to secure their release. What happened was that the abduction itself was a breach of the ceasefire talks between the insurgents and the government; hence it became a moral burden on the abductors. Any report that we paid ransom or engaged in prisoner swap is false,” he said.
Meanwhile, the freed persons have been formally handed over to the Federal Government.
The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, handed over the girls and one boy to the four-member Federal Government Delegation at the Nigerian Air Force base in Maiduguri on Wednesday evening, according to the statement.
The delegation comprised the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau (retired); the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Hon. Goni Lawan Bukar, a member of House of Representatives from Dapchi.
The girls were immediately airlifted to Abuja aboard a military transport plane.