Lai Mohammed, minister of information, says the federal government did not give money to Boko Haram insurgents for the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls.
Mohammed said this while speaking with state house correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday.
He admitted that the government negotiated with the sect but said violence and confrontation were ruled out.
The minister said the sect agreed to drop the girls in the town where they were abducted.
“The girls were released unconditionally, no money changed hands. They (Boko Haram insurgents) only had one condition – that they will return them to where they picked them. So, in the early hours of today, they did return the girls and most of them went to their parents homes.
“Like I said in the statement released to you early, once violence and confrontation was ruled out and negotiation started, there was a deliberate pause on the part of the military, in other words it was agreed that there will be no force, there will be no confrontation, that was why it was possible for them to drop the girls. It was part of the agreement that when they release the girls, there will be no violence or confrontation. And don’t forget that the lives of this children are much more important to us than any cheap victory.
“As of now I can confirm that 91 girls and one boy have been released. The event is developing. Many of the girls that were released were not dropped in one place. Some were dropped on the road and they went back naturally to their parents’ houses. They are now being asked to come and be documented at a center and as at five minutes ago, I was told 91 girls and boy had been documented.”
Journalists sought clarifications on how a boy was among those kidnapped from a girls’ school.
Responding, he said: “I can tell you that is authentic. Whether they pick the boy or not I can’t hazard any guess but don’t forget even in a girl school, which is a boarding school there will be parents, they are teachers who can have children amongst them. But what I have been told is that 91 girls and one boy have been documented.”
Boko Haram insurgents have returned the schoolgirls abducted from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe state.
Amharic M-grah, a Dapchi resident whose daughters were among the 110 abducted students, said that his children were brought back on Wednesday morning.
“The report is true. I have seen my two daughters who were kidnapped last month,” he said.
M-grah was among the people who spoke with during a trip to Dapchi in February. Back then, his wife said she had not slept for days as a result of the kidnap.
Another resident said there is confusion in the town as many people are running out of fear.
“Boko Haram just returned the kidnapped girls this morning. They brought them back in the same set of vehicles which they used in conveying them last month,” the resident said.
“People are scared because they do not know what the insurgents are up to.”
Last week, Mansur Dan Ali, minister of defence, said the girls would soon be reunited with their parents.
It is not clear if any ransom was paid but President Muhammadu Buhari said his government was open to negotiating with the sect.