Obasanjo Holds Secret Talks With Boko Haram Relatives To Free Abducted Chibok Girls

According to report, Obasanjo had met with people close to Boko Haram at his farm in Otta, Ogun State, last weekend in an attempt to find a solution to bring back the girls to their homes safely.
The meeting which was attended by relatives of some senior Boko Haram fighters as well as intermediaries focused on how to free the girls through negotiation.

A source who pleaded anonymity said that Obasanjo had raised concerns over Jonathan’s acceptance of foreign help in the search and rescue mission of the girls.

“He said he is worried that Nigeria’s prestige in Africa as a major continental power had been diminished” by President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to bring in Western military help, including from the United States,” the source said.

According to the source, Obasanjo supported a prisoner-for-hostage swap that would see some of the girls released in exchange for a group of Boko Haram fighters held in Nigerian custody.

However, the lawyer who helped organise Obasanjo’s 2011 talks with Boko Haram, Mustapha Zanna, disclosed that he was at the former president’s home on Saturday but he refused to say whether the Chibok abductions were part of their discussion.

“I was there,” Zanna said, adding that Obasanjo was interested in helping orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria’s embattled northeast and that possible charitable work was on the agenda.

It would be recalled that Obasanjo had previously tried to negotiate with the insurgents, including in September 2011 after Boko Haram bombed the United Nations headquarters in Abuja. He was said to have travelled to the Islamist's base in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, to meet people who knew Boko Haram so as to find a solution to curbing the sect’s activities.

Report of Obasanjo’s talks comes on the heels of the revelation by Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh that theover 200 school girls abducted by Boko Haramon April 14,have been locatedbut any attempt to rescue them by force could have fatal consequences for the hostages.
Source reports



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