This is the man who negotiated the release of 82 Chibok girls

The news of the release of 82 Chibok girls has been one of the most positive in this year.

According to the Presidency, the release was made possible by the efforts of the Swiss government and the Red cross.

However, the story of the release of the girls would be incomplete without mentioning the lawyer who directly negotiated their release.

According to BBC, Zannah Mustapha was present when a militant read out the girls’ names from a list.

Novelist and writer, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani writes that the swap took place along the outskirts of a forest near Kumshe town, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon, where the abducted schoolgirls lined up, covered in hijab.

“I went ahead of the Red Cross. They [the militants] brought the girls to me,” said Mustapha, the lawyer from Borno state in north-east Nigeria.

Mustapha had been mediating between the government and militants for the release of the Chibok girls.

The lawyer succeeded in convincing the Nigerian authorities on the authenticity of the faction which released the girls, after it was convinced on which group to negotiate with.

“He had dealt with them in the past and they keep to their word,” presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu said.

Mustapha’s role as a mediator dates back to his founding the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School in 2007, to provide free Islamic-based education to orphans and the poor.

When the Boko Haram insurgency erupted in 2009, the school offered admission to the children of soldiers and government officials killed by the militants, as well as those of militants killed by the state.

Mustapha then sought the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which began providing free meals to the pupils.

He also encouraged parents to form an association which would reach out to other widows and convince them to send their children to his school.

The ICRC soon extended its humanitarian services to the mothers, providing them free food and other items every month.

“This was at a time when the wives of Boko Haram militants were being arrested and their houses demolished, so Boko Haram saw me and the ICRC as neutral parties,” Mustapha said.

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