The Secretary of the Chief of Defence Staff of the seven-man negotiating committee, Professor Usman Yusuf, says at no point was the Abuja-Kaduna terror attack leader planning to marry their just-released youngest victim, Azurfa Lois John.
The negotiator and publisher of the Desert Herald, Tukur Mamu, had on August 20, 2022, informed Nigerians that the terrorist leader was making plants to wed the 21-year-old.
“This is to alert the federal government and especially the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that I can confirm through credible information at my disposal that if urgent action is not taken to immediately secure the release of the youngest victim of the train attack, a 21-year-old Azurfa Lois John, the abductors as they have done in the case of Leah Sharibu, are planning to marry her any moment from now,” Daily Post quoted the secretary.
However, Professor Usman Yusuf who spoke to Voice of America Hausa service, monitored in Kaduna, said the Boko Haram commander has never approached her, adding that even few days before they were released, the Commander reiterated that he had never said that.
According to him, even when the committee talked to her, she said it was not true, adding that the Commander had never approached her.
He pointed out that for six months they were working behind the scenes to ensure that the Abuja train hostages were released without paying a ransom, adding that their committee did not encourage the payment of ransom to the terrorists.
Professor Yusuf noted that the committee did not give a dime to the terrorists to release the 23 hostages.
“Since 29th March 2022, when the committee started working, we told the insurgents that it was wrong to hold pregnant women, children hostage.
“Among the 23 hostages was a two-year-old girl.
"When she was abducted, she was not up to two years.
"We told them it was not proper to even have grievances with the government.”
According to him, the armed forces really played a significant role, adding that without the support of the CDS, General Irabor, they wouldn’t have gotten access to the forest.