Claims that the kidnapped Chibok girls have been massacred are untrue and should be discarded, the Federal Government declared on Wednesday.
The declaration is in direct contrast with a claim last week by an official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee, Raad Zeid al Hussein, that the schoolgirls might have been slaughtered.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC), Mr Mike Omeri, insisted that all hope was not lost on the girls.
He also urged Nigerians to be hopeful as recovery of the captured towns and villages by Nigerian troops was still ongoing. He emphatically urged the people to disregard the speculations.
His words: “The search for Chibok girls continues and that is why even with capture of Bama and the rest, security and military have never relented. Until it is concluded, we cannot begin to believe speculation.”
Noting that the first year mark of the abduction is next week, Omeri said: “We hope to give a comprehensive report on what we know so far, and how far the searching has gone.”
He added: “The assurance I will give you is that everywhere is being combed and whatever element we find will be revealed to appropriate authority and nobody is going to keep anything secret.”
Omeri also urged Nigerians to be vigilant during Saturday’s Governorship and States Houses of Assembly elections.
He pledged that the military would also be ready to subdue any form of attack from the terror group during the election.
His words: “Recall that in our statement on the eve of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, we reiterated to Nigerians the need to exercise the highest level of vigilance and also scrutinize the activities of unknown and strange persons within their environment.
“In respect of the forthcoming Governorship and State Assembly Elections, we remind the citizens to maintain a similar level of vigilance and caution to ensure a peaceful and incident – free exercise.”
Omeri stated further: “As efforts are being made to ensure a hitch – free exercise, the NIC wishes to reassure Nigerians, especially those living in communities that recently experienced some security challenges arising from the activities of Boko Haram resurgence, that our military and security forces are, more than ever, very ready to ensure the protection of lives and property, while securing the country’s territorial integrity”.
Speaking further on the fight against insurgents, the NIC Coordinator pledged that the Nigerian military would continue to safeguard the communities which were reclaimed from Boko Haram, as those communities are still vulnerable to attacks.
”Lately, there have been reported cases of surprise attacks on some communities in the North East by the Boko Haram, but the recent siege on Alagarno, a well-known and strategic Boko Haram stronghold, has dealt a severe blow on the operations of the insurgent group which is experiencing its last days in the region,” said.
Omeri continued: “In a situation such as presently exists in the area, there is a high tendency for the insurgent group to suddenly aim at soft targets to destabilize communities which are regaining normalcy.
“However, the Nigerian military has continued to bring the situation under control and also safeguard the lives and property of citizens, while humanitarian assistance is being provided by appropriate authorities.
“The NIC, therefore, calls on Nigerians, particularly those living in the affected communities, to continue to support the efforts of our military and security forces at restoring normalcy in the area,” Omeri added.