The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday hailed the release of 82 abducted Chibok school girls on Saturday but expressed concern over the “price” reportedly paid for their freedom.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of National Caretaker Committee of the party, Mr Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja, it said that the capture of the girls by insurgents in 2014 traumatised the entire nation.
According to it, the abduction and detention of the girls in the last three years had brought extreme pain and suffering to their families, the country and people of goodwill across the world.
“What is, however, of great concern is the price paid to secure the release of the girls.
“According to reports, the girls were released in exchange for the release of suspected Boko Haram terrorists being held by the government.
“If that is the Case, we say it’s a heavy price to pay and an unusual one at that,” the party stated.
It said that it did not think that exchanging the innocent girls for hardened criminals like the terrorists was the right approach.
It pointed out that the implication of the “exchange’’ was the released had escaped justice.
“By releasing the arrested terrorists, all the efforts made by security agencies to bring them to book have come to nothing and a setback for the war on insurgency.
“Their release is tantamount to releasing terrorists to resume their war against society.
“Many of them can find their ways back to the terrorists’ camps from where they can unleash terror against the country.
“Others who are allowed to roam freely in society can become veritable recruiting agents and purveyors of suicide bombing and urban terrorism.”
It believed that with such exchange, the Boko Haram terrorists had been emboldened to continue their terror and kidnapping of innocent people.
According to the PDP, the terrorists will continue with their tactics believing that they can always use it to blackmail the government to release their members and to extract other concessions.
It stressed that the piecemeal release of the girls meant that the terrorists wanted to extract more concessions from the government and at the end, prolong the insurgency.
“The release of the girls will increase the agony and high expectancy of the remaining girls still in custody of the terrorists and their families who will be wondering why they have not been as lucky.
“It, therefore, would have been better to ensure the release of all the girls at once.”
It said that negotiations were in clear violation of a generally accepted international principle of “never negotiate with terrorists”.
It stated that the international principle was sound and logical because negotiation with the terrorists only fueled their urge to continue with their heinous crimes.
“However, we recognise the concern of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the earliest release of the Chibok girls for domestic and international considerations.
“Equally, we are very concerned about the safe return of the girls to their families at the earliest possible time and will continue to disagree that negotiating with the terrorists is the right approach to achieving the objective.
“Meanwhile, we rejoice with the girls and their families and hope that their remaining colleagues will join them in freedom in no distant future.”