Government officials have met with the leaders of Boko Haram sect for talks on freedom for the abducted Chibok girls, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said in France.
However, he added that apart from ensuring that it negotiates with genuine leaders of the sect, the government rejected the condition given to it by the sect to proceed with the negotiations.
The condition is for the release from custody of the main suspect behind the production of Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs).
The President, who was rounding off his state visit to France, spoke during a meeting with the Nigerian community, who met with him under the auspices of Nigerians In the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO)
Buhari said: “The issue of Chibok girls has occupied our minds and because of the international attention it drew and the sympathy throughout the country and the world, the government is negotiating with some of Boko Haram’s leadership.
“It is a very sensitive development in the sense that first we have to establish who are the genuine leaders of the Boko Haram. That is number one. Number two, what are their terms? The first impression we had was not very encouraging,” he said
He said: “They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making IEDs which have been causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing up people in churches, mosques, marketplaces, motor parks and other places.
“But it is very important that if we are going to talk to anybody, we have to know how much he is worth.
“Let them bring all the girls and then, we will be prepared to negotiate. I will allow them to come back to Nigeria or to be absorbed into the community. We have to be very careful; the concern we have for the Chibok girls, one only imagine if they got a daughter there between 14 and 18 years and for more than one and a half years, a lot of the parents who have died would rather see the graves of their daughters rather the condition they imagine they were in.
“This has drawn a lot of sympathy throughout the world; that is why this government is getting very hard in negotiating and getting the balance of those who are alive.”
Buhari assured the Nigerians that his administration was doing everything to improve on the state of the economy through provision of infrastructure in critical areas.