Two options came up for the Federal Government during the talks that led to the release of 82 Chibok girls on Saturday, The Nation learnt yesterday.
1. Swapping the 82 girls with detained Boko Haram members; and
2. Paying ransom.
The government chose swapping because, a source said, it did not want a repeat of ransom payment as the case was during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Besides, it took negotiators some months to agree on swapping because the two sides were consulting.
A source, spoke of how the negotiation took many months because each side was going back and forth to consult on the terms for the release of the 82 girls.
“As a matter of fact, the insurgents wanted ransom and the government had to weigh its implications,” the source said, pleading not to be named, adding:
“At the end of the day, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari opted for swapping instead of payment of ransom to avoid a mistake of the past. The government also felt ransom could further lead to the acquisition of more equipment and ammunition by Boko Haram.
“Above all, the government was guided by the fact that swapping is in line with international best practices. Many countries, including the United States, have undergone some situations like this before.
“So, we saw swapping as cost-effective since Boko Haram has been largely degraded.”
In response to a question, the source said: “Both parties agreed to manage the release of the girls in a no winner, no vanquished manner. We don’t want to jeopardise the chances of freedom for others.”
Amnesty International (AI) yesterday asked the Federal Government to ensure the privacy of the released girls.
AI gave the advice in a statement by its Nigeria Director, Osai Ojigho.
The statement said: “It is vital now that they receive adequate physical and psychosocial counselling and support so that they can fully reintegrate in their communities.”