Fact-check: Did FG Release 101 Boko Haram Inmates in Exchange for Abuja-Kaduna Train Captives?
Claim: A 295-word widely circulated Whatsapp message claimed that the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS, allegedly released 101 Boko-haram Inmates held at Kirikiri detention facility in Lagos State in exchange for the remaining Abuja-Kaduna train captives.
The message which was forwarded to Whatsapp groups reads, “At exactly 6 am today 8th of October 2022, about 101 Boko Haram terrorists held in Kirikiri prison since 2009 were set free. In what the government called Amnesty.
“But my investigation revealed otherwise. It is actually a prisoner swap demanded by Boko Haram, in exchange for the remaining 23 Kaduna train passengers kidnapped by the sect on the 28th of March 2022. About 104 Boko Haram terrorists were arrested by the Yar’adua/Jonathan’s govt in 2009, and transferred to Lagos.
“Out of the 104 sent to Kirikiri prison, 3 died in jail, leaving 101 that were set free today (Go & verify this info) They are held up in both Kirikiri maximum & medium prisons. But by my records, they have never been to court in Lagos since 2009 till date. Never been prosecuted. On the 29th of Sep 2022, 30th Sep, and 3rd of Oct, the Controller of the Nigeria Correctional Services, Lagos Command, Controller B.R Freeman, Met with about 40 of those Boko Haram terrorists, locked up in Kirikiri medium prison.
“Where he told them that they should get ready to go. That the federal government has granted them Amnesty, because of the upcoming 2023 election. That they should wait for further directives. (Ask Controller Freeman, let him deny it) After the last meeting on the 3rd of October 2022, the remaining 23 Kaduna train passengers, kidnapped by Boko Haram were released on the 5th of October 2022, by the sect, to keep to the terms of the agreement.
“Controller Freeman came again to the prison on the 6th of Oct 2022, and just yesterday 7th of Oct, to finalize arrangements with the terrorists. They packed up their belongings, prepared themselves, & waited. At about 6 am today, the cells were open, & they were all set free.”
PRNigeria conducted a keyword search and results from the Sun, SaharaReporters, and Online Nigeria published that the Federal Government has allegedly freed no fewer than 101 insurgents linked to the Boko-haram sect in exchange for the remaining Abuja-Kaduna train captives.
The Sun published, “They secretly released 101 Boko Haram suspects around 6 am. The negotiations had been ongoing for some months. We used to pray together. During prayers, they spoke Hausa, and they told me they would be going home by October.”
Meanwhile, Prof Usman Yusuf, the Secretary of the Chief of Defence Staff Committee (CDSAC), a taskforce that facilitated the release of the remaining 23 train passengers from the captivity has faulted the report on.the alleged exchange for Boko Haram insurgents.
“The claim that the release of the 23 train victims was a prison swap with Boko Haram detainees is false and dubious.” Prof Yusuf insisted.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Correctional Service did not respond to phone calls and messages sent to him on the matter.
Meanwhile, a defence intelligence operative involved in counterinsurgency operations debunked the rumours while pleading anonymity.
“It is not true and is not possible to release such large number of Inmates for an exchange, especially in Lagos, south-western Nigeria.”
Based on the available facts gathered by PRNigeria, there is insufficient evidence to confirm the release of 101 Boko Haram inmates in Lagos for an exchange with the remaining 23 Abuja-Kaduna train passengers that were held hostage.
Kidnapped School ChildrenYauri FGC Students, Kebbi
647 days 18 hours 15 minutes 18 seconds,
Baptist School Students, Kaduna
629 days 19 hours 56 minutes 43 seconds
Tegina Islamiya Pupils, Niger (Freed)
Report By: PRNigeria.com