The federal government says contrary to the reported figure of 110, Boko Haram insurgents abducted 113 persons from Government Girls Secondary and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe state.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said the number comprised 111 students of the school and two other pupils from an unnamed primary school.
Shortly after the insurgents raided the school on February 19, a federal government delegation had confirmed that 110 pupils were unaccounted for.
At the time, there was no mention of the two pupils, one of whom the minister said had gone to the college to sell sachet water.
Speaking at the briefing in Lagos, Mohammed, who also oversees the ministry of culture, said the difference was as a result of misinformation from the school authority.
“That means one student was not captured on the list of 110 abducted students that was compiled by the school, on the basis of which the federal government gave the number of abducted schoolgirls as 110,” he said.
“Also kidnapped were two other persons, who are not students of the college. They include a primary school boy who came to the school to sell pure water and another primary school girl. That brings the total number of abducted persons on that day to 113.”
He said the two pupils were among the 107 persons released by the insurgents on Wednesday, adding that: “Six Dapchi schoolgirls are yet unaccounted for. All efforts will be made to secure their release.”
TheCable had reported that five of the six are said to be dead while one is in Boko Haram custody.
Leah Sharibu, the remaining schoolgirl, was reportedly held back for refusing to denounce Christianity.
‘WHY THE INSURGENTS WERE ABLE TO RETURN THE GIRLS WITHOUT HITCHES’
The minister said following talks held between the federal government and Boko Haram, the insurgents decided to return the girls to where they picked them from “as a goodwill gesture”.
He said: “All they demanded was a ceasefire that will grant them a safe corridor to drop the girls.
“This is not new. Even in larger war situations, safe corridors are usually created for humanitarian and other purposes.
“Consequently, a week-long ceasefire was declared, starting from Monday, 19 March. That is why the insurgents were able to drop the girls.
“This counters the conspiracy theories being propounded in some quarters concerning why it was so easy for the insurgents to drop off the girls without being attacked by the military.”