Prominent Australian cleric, and hostage negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis was personally recruited by President Goodluck Jonathan to lobby for the release of the Chibok girls by their Boko Haram abductors.
According to Davis, the girls have been separated into different camps and the majority of them are not even held in Nigeria.
Davis who has been in Nigeria for close to a month working on the release of the girls played a key role along with then Vice President Jonathan in brokering a peace agreement with Niger Delta militants and the Federal Government.
Davis and Jonathan were frequently blindfolded and held at gunpoint as they sought to make the contacts to broker that accord.
Davis expresses optimism that the Chibok girls will be released.
He said, ‘One of that small group of girls is ill and we had hoped we might convince the commander of the group holding her that she should be released so we could give her medical treatment.
‘There are other girls who are not well and we have come close to having them released but their captors fear a trap in which they will be captured in the handover process.
‘One girl has what I assume is a broken wrist as they demonstrate to me how she holds her hand. I have been told that others are sick and in need of medical attention.
“But I am encouraged by the progress. Every day there is the possibility of the release of the girls.
‘This is painful for the parents and the nation. The well-being of the girls is constantly on our minds and we want to see their release as soon as possible.”
Welby said a military rescue operation was improbable.
“There are several groups to deal with as the girls are held in several camps across the Nigerian border in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. This makes any thought of a rescue highly improbable. To attempt to rescue one group would only endanger the others. We must not endanger their lives any further.
“The vast majority of the Chibok girls are not being held in Nigeria.
“I say the ‘vast majority’as I know a small group was confirmed to me to be in Nigeria last week when we sought to have them released.”