82 Chibok Girls– The Nigerian Federal government has delivered on his promise of securing the release of more girls who were abducted 3 years ago from their dormitories in Borno state.
So far this will be the largest release since their abduction in 2014. The recent returnees were swapped for some Boko Haram insurgents.
In October, 2016, 21 Chibok girls were released in a similar swap.
The negotiation process was aided by International Red Cross (ICRC) and the Swiss government. After the release of the 21, the government said plans were underway to secure the release of 83 more girls.
Keeping to the promise, Nigeria over the weekend received 82 Chibok girls whom where flown to the nation’s capital to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Report says that 2 of the girls were physically injured- one had an injury on the wrist while and the other was on crutches.
Delighted president Buhari said:
“I cannot express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom.”
“On behalf of all Nigerians, I will like to share my joy with you, your parents, your relatives, friends and Government of Borno State on regaining your freedom.”
“The Federal Government will like to commend the Security Agencies, the Red Cross, local authorities, local and foreign NGOs and all those who contributed in one way or another to secure the release of our Chibok Girls.”
Beyond all imagination, the nation is thrilled to have them back. However the knowledge that these girls were released in exchange for top Boko Haram terrorists is a cause to worry.
According to the special adviser on media and publicity to the President, there is no cause for alarm. He assures Nigerians that the swapping of the insurgents will not jeopardize the priceless efforts of the Nigerian military forces in the Northeast.
He is confident that the security agencies are equal to “pockets of attacks” that could come after this negotiation.
“When there is ability and capacity to ensure security there is no need to worry, the north-east is under the effective control of the security agencies.”
“I know there are pockets of attacks here and there but in terms of is the area secure? Yes. We know it is secure.”
During the live interview with Channels Television, Femi Adesina countered the notion that northeast attacks were on the rise.
“This is a conjecture and there is no truth in it, the [attacks are] talks of the last kicks of a dying horse, that it was what you saw.”
Before the release of these 82 Chibok girls, more than 80 girls (including the 21 released in October) have returned over the years.
Over 100 are still expected to come home with subsequent government efforts.
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to shoulder the all round welfare of the returnees.
“…Let me assure you that the Presidency will personally supervise the performance of those entrusted with your welfare and commitments made by the Federal Government on your health, education, security and general well-being.”
According to the FG, the president had delayed his medical trip in order to personally welcome the girls when they return. Thus he embarked on his trip after welcoming the girls and handing over administrative affairs to his deputy, Prof. Osinbajo.
In the midst of the jubilation, Human Rights groups are strongly recommending that the 82 Chibok girls be followed up with adequate counselling and psycho-therapy.