Six months after they were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group while obtaining soil samples for hydrocarbon exploration around the Chad Basin, three University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) lecturers were on Saturday released by the insurgent group.
The cheering news was broken to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura.
Also released are 10 women, kidnapped in a raid by the militant group on a military/police convoy on Damboa road, near Maiduguri.
The university lecturers were abducted by the group while conducting oil prospective in the Lake Chad area on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on July 25 last year.
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.
Shehu said according to the brief given by the DSS, 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.
According to Shehu, the President expressed delight at the development while being briefed by the DSS.
“The Director-General of the DSS, 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 saga to an end.”