President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria prefers to have schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Dapchi back alive, and that is why it has chosen negotiation, rather than military option.

The President stated this when he received the American Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in audience at State House, Abuja, on Monday.

He said Nigeria was working in concert with international organizations and negotiators, to ensure that the girls were released unharmed by their captors.

“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” the President said.

He thanked America for assistance rendered in the fight against insurgency, noting that “Nigerian forces are good, but need assistance in the areas of training and equipment.”

President Buhari promised that his administration would continue to do its best to secure the country, adding that he would go to Yobe, where Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted, later this week.

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He said the visit would be part of his “condolence and sympathy visits to areas where we have had unfortunate events.’’

The President pledged free and fair polls in 2019, recalling that the then American Secretary of State, John Kerry, had visited before the 2015 polls, “and he told the party in government then, and those of us in opposition, to behave ourselves, and we did.”

In his remarks, the visiting U. S. top diplomat said Nigeria was a very important country to the U.S.

“You have our support in your challenges. We will also support opportunities to expand the economy, commercial investments, and peaceful polls in 2019,’’ he added.

Tillerson, who later briefed newsmen alongside the Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, , said the American government would assist Nigeria with latest security equipment and intelligence sharing in its efforts toward the safe return of the abducted schoolgirls in Yobe and Borno.

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According to him, the U.S. government will also offer special training for security personnel to enable them engage in special operations towards the rescue of the girls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists.

He expressed the hope that both the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls would return home safely.

“First we respect the responsibilities of the government of Nigeria. But the way we support is in providing them capability, capacity in handling equipment, training, and personnel for special operations and sharing of intelligence to ensure that they have all the information available for the rescue of the girls.