Chibok Girls: Buhari Lauds Red Cross

By Ikenga Chronicles October 18, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the release of the 21 abducted Chibok schoolgirls. The president, who stated this yesterday while receiving the President of ICRC, Mr. Peter Mauter, at the presidential villa, Abuja, also urged the organisation to sustain humanitarian interest in Nigeria.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, Buhari said his administration was prepared to continue talks with the Boko Haram insurgents, “as long as they agree to involve international agencies like ICRC.”

“We’ve seen the result of recent talks, 21 of the Chibok girls are back,” the president said, referring to the role played by ICRC in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the girls, who had spent over 900 days in the hands of their abductors. Buhari said Nigeria’s biggest problem was perhaps the issue of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“There were over two million of them, made up of over 60 per cent women and children. About 60 per cent of the children don’t know their parents, or where they come from. It is weighing heavily on government,” he said.

On rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure, the president said it was a priority of government, noting that the G7 had equally indicated support, which Nigeria heartily welcomed. “We appreciate all your efforts. I am pleased you recognised that our military is cooperating with civil authorities and respecting humanitarian issues.”

It is a difficult time for Nigeria. About 27 of our 36 states couldn’t pay salaries when we came last year and we are still struggling with that. But we will get out of it,” the president said.

Maurer, the ICRC President, said their operation in the Lake Chad region is the second largest in the world, after Syria, adding that there are nutritional, health, water and sanitation issues in the North- East, in addition to rebuilding of infrastructure. The ICRC president also commended Nigeria for granting increased access to detainees and exchanges with the Armed Forces.

He added: “Detention facilities have improved, there are fewer deaths and things are better, healthwise.”

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