A report has indicated that the Federal Government may have paid €2m aside the release of Boko Haram top commanders for exchange of the abducted 82 Chibok school girls recently freed by the sect.
Quoting the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the report said apart from handing over five prominent terrorists to Boko Haram in exchange for the release of 82 Chibok girls, €2m was also paid to the group.
President Muhammadu Buhari was alleged to have been reluctant in approving the disbursement of the money.
According to the BBC, the money paid in cash was handed over to the insurgents in exchange for the release of the girls.
The report noted that the five senior Boko Haram militants were bomb-makers.
It noted further that it took a lot of convincing to get Buhari to approve the money.
“It should have happened sooner, but the President was hesitating about freeing the five (commanders) – and especially about the money,” the BBC quoted a source with detailed knowledge of the deal, as saying.
“The issue of the money was the most difficult part of the whole negotiation. He didn’t want to pay any money. The ransom was €2m. Boko Haram asked for euros. They chose the suspects and gave us the list of girls who would be freed,” the source added.
However, the BBC noted that the claim could not be independently verified.
The report added that though there were setbacks during the negotiation, trust was gradually built on both sides.
A human rights lawyer, Zanna Mustapha, was part of the negotiations, and was the key middleman in the release of the 82 Chibok girls.
With more than a hundred Chibok girls still being held, efforts to get them released are continuing.
There are thought to be at least 13 more Boko Haram commanders in the Federal Government’s custody who could be exchanged.
However, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed denied the allegations that the Federal Government paid a ransom of €2m for the release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls.
The Minister said only five Boko Haram commanders were released in exchange for the girls.
He said, “I emphatically deny on behalf of the Federal Government that any form of ransom was paid in exchange for the release of the 82 Chibok girls.
“Apart from the five Boko Haram commanders, the exchange of which we had already made public, no other concession was made. Any other thing to the contrary is absolutely false.”