President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said the desire of the Federal Government was to have the schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram sect from Chibok and Dapchi back alive.
He said that was why his administration chose negotiation, rather than military option, to secure their release.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving the United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adesina quoted the President as saying that Nigeria was working in concert with international organisations and negotiators, to ensure that the girls were released unharmed by their captors.
“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” the President said.
Buhari thanked the US for the assistance rendered in the fight against insurgency, noting that “Nigerian forces are good but need assistance in the areas of training and equipment.”
The President promised that his administration would continue to do its best to secure the country, adding that he would be in Yobe State, from where the Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted, later this week “as part of my condolence and sympathy visits to areas where we have had unfortunate events.”
He pledged free and fair polls in 2019, recalling that the then American Secretary of State, John Kerry, had visited before the 2015 polls, “and he told the party in government then, and those of us in opposition, to behave ourselves, and we did.”
The visiting Secretary of State commended Buhari for his strides in the anti-corruption war, to which the Nigerian leader responded that money recovered was being invested in development of infrastructure.
Tillerson said Nigeria was a very important country to the U.S, stressing that “You have our support in your challenges. We will also support opportunities to expand the economy, commercial investments, and peaceful polls in 2019.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, has said the Federal Government is committed to the protection of rights of vulnerable persons, particularly women and children, in line with international laws.