Shekau's wife, 22 others released by JTF in Yobe

By The Citizen

The military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe State on Thursday released Hassana Yakubu, one of the wives of the wanted Boko Haram sect leader, Shiekh Abubakar Shekau.

A member of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Reconciliation (PCDR) disclosed this to The Guardian in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Hassana was released along with seven other wives of top commanders of the Boko Haram sect. Fifteen of their children, aged between five and eight, were also released.

In the PCDR member's words: 'Hassana was released last week alongside Malama Zara, wife of slain leader of the group, Mohammed Yusuf, and seven other wives of top commanders of the Boko Haram sect who have been in detention for 10 months.'

He added: 'Other Boko Haram suspects released by the Yobe JTF are three children of Shekau as well as 13 others who were arrested alongside their mothers in various locations in Yobe State.'

The released persons, according to him; 'were handed over to the Yobe State Government which in turn handed them over to the Borno State Government. They were later reconnected with their families in a brief ceremony which took place at the executive chambers of the deputy governor of Borno State, Zanna Umar Mustapha.'

The Guardian also learn that the women and children were brought to Maiduguri by Barrister, Aliyu Shehu, Special Adviser to the Yobe State Governor and the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Asma'u Kabir

Kolo, and were received by Borno State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Kaka Shehu, and other top government functionaries on behalf of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State.

Barrister Shehu who spoke to The Guardian on the modalities that led to their release said:  'The Yobe State government had earlier contacted our officials in Borno state, asking its readiness to receive the detainees who were said to be indigenes of this state. On the appointed date, the special adviser to Yobe State Governor brought the women and children as well as a covering letter which was signed by Yobe State Attorney-General, Barrister  Ahmed Mustapha Goniri. I and some of my fellow commissioners received them on behalf of our governor who was unavoidably absent.'

He said the women were told to reintegrate themselves into the society

and also take part in the peace process initiated by the Federal Government with active support of both the Borno and Yobe state governments.

The commissioner added  that the eight women were also immediately enrolled into the skill- acquisition programme of the state government; while the state Ministry of Women Affairs gave them five sets of wrappers and 10 yards of brocade for each of the children.

Besides, he added, the sum of N100, 000 was also approved for each of them.

A similar gesture, according to Shehu, was extended to the six women and 14 children detained in Borno State by the JTF but later released.