Nigeria’s President Buhari to visit state where 110 schoolgirls were abducted

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday will begin visits to areas affected by terrorism, including Yobe, where 110 girls were abducted by suspected Boko Haram militants.

The President will visit the northeast state to console the communities affected in areas worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, an aide said in a statement.

It is not clear whether he will visit the school in Dapchi where the girls were taken on February 19.

The decision was taken after accessing comprehensive reports from security agencies on incidents in affected states, the statement said.

“Having received and studied the reports, the President has decided to undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the various occurrences and to meet and console the communities affected.

“He will visit Taraba, and subsequently Benue, Yobe, Zamfara and Rivers States, ” wrote Femi Adesina, special adviser to Buhari.

Meanwhile, a Nigerian lawyer who has worked as mediator between the group and the government claimed Friday that a Boko Haram faction had contacted her about the schoolgirls.

Aisha Wakil, who is also known as “Mama Boko Haram,” said the group assured her that the girls would not be harmed.

“We read what you said and Insha Allah, we are with the girls,” Wakil quoted the abductors saying in the video.

Wakil said she asked the group whether she could meet with the kidnapped girls. “I tried to ask them when I can come and stay with them (girls) for few days…..they didn’t tell me anything.”

“I can assure Nigeria that so far, my son Habib…..he will not harm them(girls), he will not touch them, he will not kill them,” Wakil said.

Her reference to Habib suggests that the Dapchi girls have been taken by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who broke away from the leader Abubakar Shekau last year April to form his own group.

Al-Barnawi, also known as Habib Yusuf, is the second son of Mohammed Yusuf, who founded the group in 2002.

He was introduced as the new leader of Boko Haram in an interview in the ISIS’ magazine al-Naba in March 2017.

Boko Haram has long had links with ISIS, pledging allegiance to the group in 2015.

The President’s visit to the northeast comes after he was criticized for attending a high-profile wedding Saturday in the same region where the school girls were kidnapped.

Many said it was insensitive particularly considering that three aid workers were killed in an attack on military facilities in the same region, just one day before the event.

“If any of them had lost a daughter in that captivity, would they celebrate that way?” asked Tunde Bakare, a prominent cleric, during a Sunday service at the Latter Rain Assembly in Lagos.

“I know the Bible says ‘rejoice with them that rejoice,’ but I do not know what the President of Nigeria was doing there,” Bakare added.