Ahmed Salkida, the only journalist known to have some access to the leadership of Boko Haram, has said credible sources have told him the Chibok girls are still alive, with some refusing to convert to Islam.
Over 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their dormitory in April 2014 and at least 219 of them are still believed to be in captivity, although there is yet no clue on their location.
But Salkida, in an op-ed for TheCable, suggested that President Muhammadu Buhari should use state machinery to open up access to the militants rather than say he has no clue on the kidnapped girls whose abductions sparked off the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
Salkida wrote: “Most of the Chibok girls, whether they are split into groups or not, are alive, multiple credible sources have told me, and if a deal to release them will weaken national security and endanger the entire country, then the federal government shouldn’t make a deal.
“I am confident that Chibok girls and other captives can return to their families if the government is half as strong-willed as some of the girls in captivity that have refused to be married out or give up their faith.
“The girls would have never backed out of any process, no matter how irritating it is. They would stay on and negotiate hard until they get a deal that will earn them their freedom and stop such abductions so that no one else can ever witness their woeful plight.”
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau – from whom nothing has been heard in the last 10 months — once released a video of the schoolgirls and said he had sold them off to marriage. All efforts to free the girls have failed.