President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of N164.8m for the second semester school fees of the freed 106 Chibok girls at the american University of Nigeria, Yola.
He additionally restated his commitment to the safe return of the remaining girls in Boko Haram’s captivity.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed these in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
Shehu quoted Buhari as expressing delight at the progress created in the rehabilitation of the 106 girls currently in AUN, owned by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who on Friday resigned from the ruling All Progressives Congress.
He said the President made the approval for the payment of the school fees whereas reviewing the progress report submitted to him in line together with his commitment to personally monitor the rehabilitation and reintegration of the freed Chibok girls into the society.
“In line with this, the President has approved the payment of the total of N164,763,759 for the second semester school fees of the 106 Chibok girls at the american University of Nigeria, AUN in Yola,” the statement read.
Shehu said in keeping with the progress report received by the President, the choice to pursue avenues in addition to action to free the abducted girls was to protect the lives of all Nigerians, to finish the insurgency within the North-East and to fulfill one of the campaign promises of the President.
The presidential spokesman explained that it was in line with this that the federal government entered into negotiations with the Boko Haram sect for the release of the Chibok girls who were kidnaped from their school dormitory on the night of April 14, 2014.
He recalled that 2 batches of 21 and 82 women had been freed as a results of those negotiations while 3 further girls were saved by the soldiers, bringing the number of freed Chibok girls up to now to 106.
The statement added, “As a results of their experiences while in captivity, the freed girls were severely traumatised and afflicted by various ailments and injuries. Hence, they were taken to secure medical centres for attention.
“They additionally went through debriefing and de-radicalisation by security operatives, after that the girls were handed over to the Federal Ministry of women Affairs and Social Development.”
It said the Federal Ministry of women Affairs and Social Development was allotted the most role in the supervision, rehabilitation and also the reintegration of the girls back to the society.
The statement said, “Long before the girls were discharged, the federal government had established the ‘Chibok girls Desk’ within the ministry, responsible for working on matters concerning the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, and serving as a channel of communication between relevant agencies and the parents and relatives of the kidnapped girls.
“The government, through the ministry of women affairs and, in collaboration with the united nations Fund for Population Activities, UNFPA, UN Women, and different donor agencies, commenced programmes earmarked to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of the Chibok girls with a nine-month time-frame.
“A hostel in the National Centre for women Development was converted into a suitable shelter, where the ladies were kept for the nine-month period. The programme, that began in January 2017, ended in Sept 2017.
“During the period, the 106 girls were given lessons in English, mathematics, Biology, Agriculture, and Civic Education. in addition, they were trained in ICT and vocational skills. Professionals were engaged to provide them with psycho-social therapy and one-on-one counselling to assist them overcome post-traumatic stress disorder.
“They were also supplied with religious instructions and comprehensive care by 2 in-house doctors and 2 nurses. Periodic visits from the girls’ parents to stimulate family support and reunion were sponsored and organised by the ministry.”
Shehu said having with success achieved the desired goals of the rehabilitation and reintegration programme, with recorded significant improvement in the academic performance of the ladies, a final send-off was organised in Sept for the 106 Chibok girls and they were later on moved to the AUN in Yola for their foundation studies and continuation of their education.
He said the institution had with success established a foundation school for fourteen out of the fifty seven Chibok girls who escaped while the rest of their classmates were taken to the Sambisa Forest by Boko Haram.
The absorption of the 106 girls into the school, he said, marked the start of their integration into the larger Nigerian society, so fulfilling Buhari’s promise of providing the best education for them.
He said though they’d been formally handed over to their parents, the federal government would still be accountable for the payment of the Chibok girls’ school fees up to their graduation from the university.