Days after he tweeted that only 15 of the remaining 113 abducted Chibok schoolgirls were alive, Ahmed Salkida, a journalist known for his access to the Boko Haram leadership, said the figure he gave was not correct.
His latest tweets on Monday indicated that the correct number of the missing girls, he says are alive, is 30 and not 15 as earlier stated.
Mr Salkida said he regretted putting forward the wrong figure.
“I regret to state (stating) here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last three months,” he had said.
The Nigerian government had earlier said it could not immediately verify the Borno State born journalist’s claims, hence would continue to explore channels of negotiation to ensure that the remaining girls are freed.
“Following the numerous press enquiries on the information contained in the series of tweets by Mr Ahmed Salkida, we wish to reiterate that the information is not known to the officials of this administration either from the captors of the Chibok girls or the international intercessors who are working with us,” presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in statement.
“We wish to confirm that Mr Salkida is not involved, on behalf of the Nigerian government in the processes leading to the release of the over 100 Chibok girls that have returned to their families, so far, and is not involved in the current processes to secure the release of those still held in captivity.”
Responding to the presidential reaction to his revelations, Mr Salkida said he was disappointed with the stance of the presidency on the issues he raised.
He argued that the objective of his tweets was to compel both the government and Boko Haram to speak on the girls rather than the denials put up by the presidency.
In his new tweets, Mr Salkida said his earlier messages had compelled Boko Haram leaders to come out to confirm the actual number of Chibok schoolgirls that are still in their captivity
“A leading member of the Jama’atu Ahlis-Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad or BH (Boko Haram) has now clarified the earlier information about 15 girls,” he said.
“Indeed, the 15 #ChibokGirls are available, but known to a particular cell that spoke to me emphatically days leading to the 4th anniversary.
“However, two other cells within the larger group has brought additional information, clarifying the earlier information, that there are another 10 girls available in another cell. Outside of the 15 and 10, another five (5) amongst the girls are also alive as at early hours of today.
“But the set of five, according to the group today, have apparently become permanently embedded in the doctrines and teaching programs of the sect and have asked not to be considered amongst those likely be included in any release in the future, if there would be any,” the journalist said.
He also added that, “It is most disappointing that the government in its might and given the machinery available to it, peremptorily declared to the public that it lacks institutional memory regarding the processes of the #ChibokGirls.
PREMIUM TIMES has not been able to independently verify the claims credited to the Boko Haram or Mr Salkida, on the actual number of Chibok schoolgirls still in captivity.
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