The Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, has explained why the Federal Government negotiated with Boko Haram for the release of the abducted lecturers of the University of Maiduguri and 10 women.
According to Daura, the agreement appear to be the safest option available at that time.
Speaking on Monday, shortly after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the freed captives, Daura said any forceful attempt to rescue the victims could have endangered their lives.
The DSS DG explained that the negotiation process, which took several months, was made possible with the support of the “external elements” and support from International Community of the Red Cross
It will be recalled that the lecturers were abducted by the Boko Haram in the Magumeri area of Borno state during a trip on oil exploration, while the women were kidnapped in a raid by the militant group on a military/police convoy on Damboa road, near Maiduguri.
The women were abducted in June, while the lecturers in July.
“We choose the path of negotiation because it was considered as the safest because any forceful attempt to rescue the victims could endanger their lives,” Daura said.
“These negotiations took several months and the Department of State Services with the support of the external elements of the group in diaspora and support from friendly countries and liaising with International Community of the Red Cross, made the rescue possible.
“The process was slow due to the problem of dealing with two different groups based in different locations at the same time. In addition, the negotiations took place mostly outside the country, though subsequently finalised in the theater of operations.
“The negotiations were mainly centred on an attempt at conflict mitigation which include the fate of arrested members of the insurgent groups especially, accepting to free by government those found not to be culpable in any criminal action.
“Also, possible cessation of hostilities especially the attacks with IEDs on innocent civilians, worship centers, schools and other public places in return for temporary stoppage of air strikes by helicopter gunships.”