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FG slams PDP over Chibok girls’ comment

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Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Federal Government has berated the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party for its comment on the recent release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls, adding that the PDP lacks the moral right to comment on the issue.

The PDP faction had on Sunday criticised the Federal Government for freeing some Boko Haram suspects in exchange for the Chibok girls.

However, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement on Monday that the PDP, under whose watch the girls were kidnapped, should bow its head in shame.

He said it was clear that the kind of disdain for human life which the PDP exhibited in its incautious statement is the same reason the girls were kidnapped in the first instance, and for which then PDP-controlled Federal Government took what seemed an eternity before even acknowledging the abduction – thus losing critical time for their rescue.

The minister said, ”Since the PDP failed – as it did in everything – to rescue even one of the Chibok girls, the party should hold its peace while this administration continues to seek the release of all the abducted girls, using every means at its disposal, in addition to working assiduously to end all Boko Haram hostilities.”

Mohammed said prisoner exchange was a common practice across the world including in the United States and Israel.

He added, “In his inaugural address, President Muhammadu Buhari said the administration cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls. He also said this government will do all it can to rescue them alive.

‘If that includes swapping some Boko Haram elements for the girls, so what? Will the PDP rather have the girls stay in perpetual captivity, just to prove a ludicrous point? Didn’t superpower United States engage in negotiations with the Taliban that led to the exchange of five Taliban fighters for US Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl in 2014? Didn’t Israel release 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in 2011?

”A lot of factors come into play when a nation has to decide whether or not to engage in prisoner/hostage swap. None, however, trounces the sanctity attached to human life and the consideration for the pains of the loved ones of those involved.”

The minister said from the ill-advised statement, it is clear that the PDP, whose incompetence and cluelessness precipitated the Chibok girls” crisis in the first instance, is not wishing and praying for it to end with the safe return of the abducted girls.

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