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Nigeria: Presidency disagrees with some facts in new book on Chibok girls

The Presidency in Nigeria has expressed reservations with a new book titled “Beneath The Tamarind Tree”, written about the kidnapping of 270 Chibok school girls, by Isha Sesay, the former CNN broadcaster and now a Child Rights activist.The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Nigerian president, Malam Garba Shehu, reiterated the government’s determination to ”secure the release, by peace or by force, the remaining 110 Chibok girls, Ms Leah Sharibu and all other citizens held captive by terrorists”.

He said in Abuja on Monday that the book was hampered by misrepresentations.

Local media reports said that Shehu stated that the book should serve the purpose of spotlighting the crimes against humanity by Boko Haram terrorists, etching it permanently on the public mind.

According to Shehu, the book should rightfully stir up interest and rally international support for the young girls on the continent, who must stay in school and avoid early pregnancy and marriage, in order to actualize their God-given potential.

”In her introduction of the book, Isha claims that she wants to “humanize” the girls, instead of them being seen as “mere headlines”.

”She acknowledged the release from Boko Haram captivity of more than 50 percent of the girls under the Buhari administration, but says, very rightfully, that “we must not forget the 112, who are still missing”. On this, we share a common position.

”In stitching together her compelling portrait of this unfortunate yet paradoxical incident, Isha, this terrific journalist, risks a negative judgment of history on a book that is a farrago of misrepresentation,” he said.

The presidential aide, however, observed that it was wrong of the author to say of the Buhari administration that “they don’t know who to negotiate with” because Boko Haram had split into factions.

According to him, this is a misrepresentation of the position of the government on the split in the leadership of the terrorist group into two contending factions.

Shehu dismissed as incorrect that the Federal Government had given up on the Chibok girls, saying there was nothing on the ground to give that impression and that already the Ministry of Women and Social Development has a fully staffed government unit dealing with the Chibok abductions and its fallout.

”The Buhari administration came in 2015 with a promise to recover the stolen girls and a milestone has indeed been achieved by bringing back and caring for more than 50 percent of them, even though the job cannot be said to be complete,” the author said.

Shehu explained that government’s explanations had become imperative at this time in view of the doubts that may possibly arise following the release of the book.

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