A journalist, Ahmad Salkida, known to have access to the Boko Haram sect, has said only 15 of the 113 Chibok schoolgirls in captivity are alive.
Salkida, who said this on his Twitter handle on Saturday, disclosed that many of the girls had died as a result of the battle between the sect and security forces.
According to him, the 15 girls still alive are no longer under the control of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau
He said they had been married off and that their fate could only be determined by their husbands.
Salkida said no negotiation, including ransom, could secure their release, except they were divorced from their husbands.
Salkida tweeted, “Today, my painstaking investigations on the #Chibokschoolgirls revealed that just a handful of the 113 #ChibokGirls are alive.
“Many of the girls have died as a result of crossfires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them. I regret to state here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last three months
“What is the status of the remaining 15 girls as far as negotiations are concerned? My investigations also revealed that they are no longer under the control of #AbubakarShekau. According to sources, they are now ‘married’ and only their ‘husbands’ can decide their fates.
“If they are divorced or the men are killed, that is when Shekau’s decision takes precedence, and in this instance, since the girls have been indoctrinated, their leader has no right to negotiate for their release, no matter the ransom offered, reliable multiple sources said.
“The way out for these girls, is a military rescue or negotiate with individual captors to release their ‘wives’ in return for some kind of deal, but this will mean death to these fighters because the terror group now sees the girls as part of their own and must be protected.”
But the Defence Headquarters on Sunday faulted Salkida’s claim that only 15 of the Chibok schoolgirls were alive.
The Defence spokesman, John Agim, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, said the claim was meant to discourage the military from searching foir the remaining girls.
He said, “Who are the people making the claim. I don’t think anyone should take them seriously; they are not credible.”
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Saturday said the Presidency was not aware of the claim made by Salkida.
In a statement made available to journalists, the presidential spokesman said the information was not known to the officials of the administration either from the captors of the girls or the international intercessors who are working with the government.
He noted that Salkida was not involved in the process leading to the release of over 100 girls and was also not involved in the current efforts aimed at securing the release of the remaining girls.
He said, “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 he is also not involved in the current processes to secure the release of those still held in captivity.
“If there is any information he has concerning the remaining girls, he has, up till this moment, not approached the government of Nigeria with it. All press enquirers on the subject should therefore be directed to Mr. Salkida.”