Boko Haram has released 82 schoolgirls from a group of 276 they abducted in north-eastern Nigeria three years ago, President Muhammadu Buhari’s office says.
The girls were handed over in exchange for Boko Haram suspects after negotiations.
They will be received by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on May 7, a statement said.
The abduction of the so-called “Chibok girls” triggered a global outcry and sparked a huge social media campaign.
Before the latest release, about 195 of the girls were still missing.
The number of Boko Haram suspects released by authorities remains undisclosed.
Christian pastor Enoch Mark, whose two daughters were among those kidnapped, told AFP: “This is good news to us. We have been waiting for this day. We hope the remaining girls will soon be released.”
It was unclear whether his daughters had been freed.
A statement from a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari said he was deeply grateful to “security agencies, the military, the Government of Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and local and international NGOs” for playing a role in the operation.
After the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, was raided in April 2014, more than 50 girls quickly escaped and Boko Haram then freed another 21 in October 2016, after negotiations with the Red Cross.
Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari said the Nigerian government remained “in constant touch through negotiations, through local intelligence to secure the release of the remaining girls and other abducted persons unharmed”.
Many of the Chibok girls were Christian, but were encouraged to convert to Islam and to marry their kidnappers during their time in captivity.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari plagiarized quotes from President Barack Obama in a speech promising change in his country, according to a statement by the presidential office.
Muhammadu Buhari has blamed an “overzealous” staff member for plagiarizing parts of the speech.
He made the address on September 8 to launch a campaign entitled “Change begins with me,” part of his credo to end corruption in Africa’s biggest economy, which is gripped by mismanagement and poverty despite sitting on vast energy reserves.
Several passages of his speech overlapped with President Obama’s address after winning election in 2008.
Muhamamadu Buhari’s office admitted the sentences were “too close to be passed as coincidence”.
The Nigerian president and Barack Obama are due to meet at the UN General Assembly next week.
“There was a mistake by an overzealous staff and we regret that this has happened,” Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu wrote on Twitter, saying those responsible would be punished.
“President Buhari urges Nigerians to look beyond this incident and focus on the message of change which the country needs in order to restore our cherished value systems.”
Muhammadu Buhari’s speech read: “We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long.”
Barack Obama’s speech read: “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”
Nigeria, which ranks 136 out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2015, has struggled for years to fight corruption among its political elite.
But since Muhammadu Buhari was elected to power in 2014 on a campaign that vowed to root out corruption, anti-fraud agencies have arrested several senior politicians accused of embezzlement.
Earlier this year Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, was accused of plagiarizing portions of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech.
Nigeria’s former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari has a narrow lead over incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in the country’s presidential election, partial results show.
With more than half of Nigeria’s 36 states declared, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) is ahead by half a million votes.
A victory for Muhammadu Buhari would make President Goodluck Jonathan the first incumbent to lose an election in Nigeria.
Correspondents say it is likely the loser will allege foul play.
More than 800 people were killed in protests after Goodluck Jonathan beat Muhammadu Buhari in the previous election.
Muhammadu Buhari’s lead was cut from two million votes, after Goodluck Jonathan gained a landslide in Rivers State, where there have been widespread reports of irregularities and a curfew imposed.
Nigeria’s electoral commission (INEC) chairman, Attahiru Jega, said the fact-finding team sent to the state found there were some voting irregularities with the poll but not enough “to warrant a cancellation of the election”.
However, many of the states still to declare are in the north, where Muhammadu Buhari is seen as favorite.
Earlier, the announcement of results was disrupted when an agent of Goodluck Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) launched a tirade against Attahiru Jega in Abuja.
“We have lost confidence in what you’re doing, we don’t believe in you anymore,” Elder Orubebe said.
Rejecting the allegation, Attahiru Jega replied: “Let us be careful about what we say or do and let us not dispute a process that has begun peacefully.”
Muhammadu Buhari has won the two biggest states, Lagos in the south and Kano in the north, while Goodluck Jonathan won a huge majority in his home state of Bayelsa, as well as Rivers.
The candidate with the most votes will only avoid a run-off if they gain at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.
International observers have broadly praised the conduct of the vote but there has been some concern over possible efforts to rig the outcome during the count.
The US and UK have expressed their concerns over potential “political interference” during the count.
A spokesman from INEC dismissed these fears, saying that “there is absolutely no basis” to talk of meddling.
Authorities in Rivers State announced a curfew on March 30 after protests over alleged vote rigging.
Earlier, police in the state used teargas against female opposition protesters who were attempting to lodge complaints with election officials.
Voting spilled into Sunday in some parts of Nigeria after problems were encountered with new electronic card readers, which were introduced to prevent fraud.
President Goodluck Jonathan, whose PDP has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, was among those whose registration to vote was delayed by the technology.
Attahiru Jega said only a fraction of the 150,000 card readers being used nationwide had failed.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari: 10,454,137 votes;
Passed 25% threshold in 16 states
Goodluck Jonathan: 9,953,432 votes;
Passed 25% threshold in 20 states
Results from 25 states + Abuja
Candidates needs 25% in 24 states for first-round victory
Voting in parts of Nigeria have been extended until Sunday, March 29, after delays and a number of attacks.
Technical problems with new biometric cards slowed down voter registration, even affecting President Goodluck Jonathan.
More than 20 people have reportedly been killed in various attacks by unknown gunmen.
Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a strong challenge from Muhammadu Buhari.
The election is said to be the most closely fought since independence.
It was postponed from mid-February to allow the army time to recapture territory from the Islamist militants of Boko Haram.
The two main candidates had pledged to prevent violence during and in the aftermath of the elections.
Several hours after voting started, reports came in of violent incidents at polling stations in which at least 24 were reported to have been killed.
Thousands of Nigerians turned out to vote, despite threats from Boko Haram to disrupt the poll.
Voters are also electing members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
According to the Transitional Monitoring Group (TMG), the largest body observing the elections, voting had started in 75% of polling stations, while 92% had the materials they need to start the process.
Voters need to register using biometric cards with their fingerprints before they can cast their vote.
However, there have been problems with card readers at many polling stations.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the accreditation process had “gone on well in several places”, but was “slow” or had “not commenced at all” in others.
Goodluck Jonathan tried for some 50 minutes to register in his home village of Otuoke, before coming back a second time. When the electronic registration failed again, he had to be accredited manually before casting his ballot paper.
Problems were also reported from the north’s biggest city of Kano, where thousands of voters waited for election officials and voting materials to arrive.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari did not have any problems registering in his hometown, Daura.
Attacks were reported in north-eastern Gombe state, including incidents where gunmen opened fire on voters at polling stations.
It is unclear whether the attacks were the work of Boko Haram militants or political thugs.
Nigeria has postponed the February 14 presidential election to March 28 over concerns about the security situation.
The country’s electoral commission chief Attahiru Jega said he had been told troops would not be available to help patrol the ballot because they would be fighting Boko Haram militants in the north-east.
Nigeria and four other states plan to deploy a joint force of 8,700 soldiers.
Both the Nigerian opposition and the US criticized the delay.
The head of the party of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who is challenging incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, said the “provocative” move was a “major setback for Nigerian democracy”.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was “deeply disappointed”, adding: “Political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission is unacceptable, and it is critical that the government not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process.”
Officials from the main opposition party accuse the military of forcing the electoral commission into the delay to help the sitting president’s campaign.
It looks set to be a tight race between Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari and the postponement may well increase the tension which is already palpable.
“The commission cannot lightly wave off the advice of the nation’s security chiefs,” said Attahiru Jega.
“The risk of deploying young men and women and calling people to exercise their democratic rights in a situation where their security cannot be guaranteed is a most onerous responsibility.”
Parliamentary elections due to take place on February 14 have also been postponed to March 28.
Elections for state governors and assemblies slated for February 28 have been moved to April 11.
John Odigie-Oyegun, chairman of Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, said: “I strongly appeal to all Nigerians to remain calm and deist from violence and any activity which will compound this unfortunate development.”
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