The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has expressed concern to the complete neglect by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of the rescue of the remaining 112 Chibok school girls.
Recall that out of a total number 219 abducted by Boko Haram terrorists while writing their final Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) on April 14, 2014, 112 are still in the hands of their captors.
MBF National Publicity Secretary, Dr Isuwa Dogo, in a statement issued on Sunday and made available to DAILY POST, noted that the girls were rescued in two batches of 21, and 82, while four escaped individually at different times within the six years of their captivity in the terrorists’ den.
“The rescued girls, comprising 103 in number, were initially transferred to the Women Development Centre, Abuja, where they underwent Psychosocial Support (PSS) and treatment for Post Stress Traumatic Disorder (PTSD) facilitated by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA,” the statement explained.
According to the statement, since May 2017 when they were rescued, rehabilitated and sent to the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, to prepare them to rewrite their SSCE, and proceed to various pre-degree programmes, neither the re-siting of the SSCE nor the pre-degree programme seen the light of day.
“The inability of the Federal Government and those directly responsible for the welfare and progress of the rescued girls to monitor and evaluate their level of Educational progress have cast a bleak on the future of the girls,” the statement lamented.
“Consequently, some of the rescued girls got frustrated and abandoned their studies, with some of them even married off. Presently, no fewer than 10 of the girls have since dropped out, and there are fears that more may not return after the easing off of the current COVID-19 lockdown.
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“It is sad that the Presidency which had shown great enthusiasm on the fate of the girls when the sum of $2 million released by the UNFPA under the Safe School Initiatives that was promoted by the UNICEF Education Ambassador and former UK Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, has remained a mirage in salvaging the careers of the rescued girls,” MBF observed.
It explained that despite advice by the parents of the girls, the Chibok Community and the #BringBackOurGirls. advocacy group that the Office of the Vice President be charged with the responsibility of monitoring the education of the kidnapped girls, the Federal Government maintained deaf ears and transferred the matter to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.
It lamented that it is ill-fated that the Federal Government abdicated its responsibility in fulfilling its obligations to the girls as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that more worrisome, the government has refused to allow well-meaning individuals and organizations to come to the aid of the girls.
The forum recalled that both local and international organizations attempted to bring respite and rescue the career of these girls from the dunghill of hopelessness and despair.
It noted that with the support of some local bodies, some of the 57 girls who initially escaped in the first few days of abduction have since completed their degree programmes in various Universities in the United States of America.
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It said, “It is a tragedy of unspeakable proportion that these girls who ought to have attracted the sympathy of the government have been mistreated and left at sixes and sevens. In the face of continued dark clouds of hopelessness hovering over them, we call on President Buhari to intervene and save the academic careers of these girls.”
The forum, therefore, called on Mr. President to ensure the destroyed school where the girls were kidnapped from be completely rebuilt and open for prospective school age children as the Chibok School is the only secondary school in Chibok LGA.
“The future can only be brightened through the education of citizens. The confusion that has trailed the academic careers of these rescued school girls should be resolved. We call on President Buhari to ensure the safe return of the remaining 112 school girls who are still under the captivity of Boko Haram,” it assured.