By Hanson Chidozie
Joy reverberated across the country at the weekend as the federal government announced that the three University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) lecturers abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in Magumeri, Borno State, have been released.
The 10 women kidnapped in a raid by the militant group on a military/police convoy on Damboa road, near Maiduguri, were also released.
The university lecturers were abducted by the group while prospecting oil in the Lake Chad area on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Some of their colleagues were killed during the abduction in 2017.
“Their release followed a series of negotiations as directed by President Buhari and was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC,” said Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson in a statement.
Mr. Shehu said according to the brief given by the SSS, all 13 rescued persons are in the custody of the service and are on their way to Abuja with the assistance of the Nigerian Army and the Air Force.
“In expectation of their being brought to the DSS headquarters, a team of doctors and psychologists has been placed on standby. The rescued persons may be presented to the President and thereafter released to their families, if there are no issues of security or medical concerns.
“The President, who got step by step progress reports on the lengthy negotiations while they took place, received the good news with a lot of happiness. He commended all those who in one way or the other helped in making the release possible.
“He then urged the DSS and the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts to bring home the remaining Chibok Girls still in the custody of the terrorists.
“The Director-General, Malam Lawal Daura, assured the President that they were working hard to bring home the remaining girls and, as soon as possible, bring the Chibok Girls (matter) to an end,” Mr. Shehu said.