13 Chibok Girls Die In Boko Haram Custody

Snake bite, hunger and malaria have killed thirteen of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram custody.

The girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram in 2014.

Of the 276 kidnapped schoolgirls, 163 are now free; while 57 fled in the early days after their abduction, three more escaped later, and a Swiss-coached mediation secured 103.

The Wall Street Journal, WSJ, reports that 13 of the girls have lost their lives during their nearly three years in Boko Haram custody.

WSJ report said, “Of the remaining 113, at least 13 have died, officials say.

“Some were felled by malaria, hunger or a snake bite.

“The majority died in airstrikes. Among those forcibly married to fighters, at least two died in childbirth.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had, after the release of the last batch of the girls numbering 82, promised to ensure the last of the girls returned home to the families.

Hope For Chibok Girls As Buhari Approves Payment Of Tuition

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved payment of N164.8m for the second semester school fees for the freed 106 Chibok girls currently schooling in the American University of Nigeria, AUN, Yola.

This was revealed yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu on Sunday.

This is just as he renewed Buhari’s commitment to ensure that all the Chibok girls still held hostage by the Boko Haram terrorists are returned to their parents safely.

“In line with, the President has approved payment of the sum of N164,763,759 (one hundred and sixty four million, seven hundred and sixty-three naira) for the second semester school fees of the 106 Chibok girls at the American University of Nigeria, AUN in Yola,” the statement read.
“Absorption of the 106 girls into the school marked the beginning of their integration into the larger Nigerian society, thus fulfilling President Buhari’s promise of providing the best education for them. Although they have been officially handed over to their parents. The Federal Government will continue to be responsible for the payment of the Chibok girls’ school fees right up to their graduation from the school,” Shehu further noted.

The President also restated his resolve to protect the lives of all Nigerians and end the insurgency in the northeast of the country in fulfillment of the campaign promises.

 

Chibok Girls Begin Four Months Remedial Studies

Over 200 Chibok girls were adopted in 2014, and over 3 years later a total of 106 have been released. The 106 freed Chibok schoolgirls Tuesday embarked on a four-month remedial and integration programme to prepare them for regular ordinary level academic activities in September.

At an emotional ceremony on Tuesday, the Department of State Services (DSS) formally handed the girls to the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan and representatives of international agencies, United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) and The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The girls, who were released in two batches following an internationally-brokered prisoner- swap deal with Boko Haram insurgency group, would be camped at the Women Development Centre, Abuja for the duration of the rehabilitation and remedial course.

The facility was given after a thorough check ordered on Monday by the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole.
Before they were admitted to the center, the girls did a series of tests at the Federal Staff Clinic.
The Director Medical, DSS, Dr. Ann Okoroafor, handed the girls over to Alhassan after the second batch comprising the recently released 84 schoolgirls, were investigated and profiled.

Though some of the girls are still having medical issues, Okoroafor said they were psychologically stable.
At the centre, they would undergo psychotherapy to let them overcome the trauma of the physical and mental abuse they were subjected to while in the captivity of Boko Haram since April 2014.

Alhassan said they would receive compulsory training in ICT plus vocational skills in two trades, while the remedial course would in five courses, including English Language, Mathematics, Biology, Agricultural Science and Civil Education.

They will also participate in games, drama, literary and debate, competitions in addition to several cultural exchanges.
She, however, insisted that their social engagements would be curtailed from public scrutiny as government would not want to turn the girls into celebrities and accord them special treatment over other Nigerians.

The minister stressed that the camp will close down in September at the beginning of the school year, when the federal government is expected to formally hand over the girls to their parents and guardians.

“After the therapy and remedial course, we will enroll them in any schools of their preference in Nigeria after which they will go back to their community. If we keep them beyond September, and we want they will lose an entire school year want to avoid that instance,” Alhassan said.

The centre will handle their medical cases while the cases that cannot be handled in-house house will be referred to the DSS Heath Centre and the Federal Staff Clinic.
It was gathered that two medical doctors and two nurses would be attached to them, while there is a request for a standby ambulance in the case of emergency.

The girls will stay two in a room and for their education, they will be spletted be split into four classes. Overall 20 teachers specialising in all specified disciplines will be involved, while each classroom will boast of five teachers.

Alhassan said they had the voluntary consent of the Chibok girls and their parents to keep them at the centre.
She added that any of the girls that wished to be withdrawn immediately from the programme would be released in respect of her wish.
Eugene Kongnyug was represented the UNFPA, while Dr. Nicholas Audifferen represented the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the occasion.

Chibok Girls Were Used To Destroy Jonathan’s Image – LP Alleges

The Labour Party Group has rejected the believe that some girls of Government Secondary School, in Chibok town, Borno State were kidnapped after all.

Rather, it was said that it was a plot to oust the former President Goodluck Jonathan from office.

The party said the wrath of God would be visited on the All Progressives Congress (APC) for manipulating Nigerians about their abduction.

In a statement, national chairman of the LP, Abdulkadir Abdulsalami, said the APC should expect the wrath of God for deceiving Nigerians and manipulating the parents of the Chibok girls.

The national chairman said the government should not claim credit “for what they have packaged, pre-arranged and now executing”.

He said the government has worsened the suffering of Nigerians and if President Muhammadu Buhari does not leave office, nothing good should be expected from his administration.

“The government should expect the wrath of God for deceiving Nigerians and manipulating the parents of the Chibok girls. The release of the Chibok girls is a fluke and an ordinary abracadabra. If by this time, they claimed to have captured Sambisa forest, from which another forest will they say they have brought these girls,” Abdulsalami said.

“I think Nigerians need to be told the truth by our leaders if they want sympathy from Almighty God, what happened to the Chibok girls. By the time we get to May 29 next year (2018), they will now release all the remaining girls to say they have fought the war, they have won the war.

“But the fact of the matter, as I have been saying before, during and after the campaign for the 2015 general elections, is that these Chibok girls were not kidnapped by any Boko Haram. They were prepared and arranged to destroy the image and administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The present government has worsened the suffering of Nigerians. We have suffered enough, and if Buhari doesn’t leave office, Nigerians should expect worse repercussions from the government.”

Abdulsalami said that if the APC lacks the capacity to lead, the party should step aside and let a responsible government take over.

“And if they don’t have the capacity, let them get away from government. The APC should step aside and let a responsible government take over the administration of Nigeria. You can’t talk of the government without bringing in APC. Buhari came on the platform of change, using deceit in all its programmes,” he said.

Presidency: Freed Girl Not One Of 219 Chibok Schoolgirls

The presidency thursday retracted its announcement that another Chibok girl was free, saying she was not one of the 219 whose kidnapping more than three years ago caused global outrage.

The presidency said on Wednesday evening that the teenager was picked up by the military after fleeing from Boko Haram jihadists.
But Laolu Akande, spokesman to the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, later tweeted that the girl was a junior secondary school “student from Chibok community.”

In a text message to AFP thursday, he said the 15-year-old was “not part of the 219.”

Osinbajo is currently deputising for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is in London on medical leave.

In the Nigerian education system, junior secondary school is for pupils aged between 10 and 15. The 219 Chibok girls were in their final year of senior secondary school (SSS3).

The #BringBackOurGirls group, which has been campaigning for the release of the Chibok girls, also said the girl’s name was not in their records.
“We’ve perused our list but can’t find the name of the returnee said to be 1 of our #ChibokGirls,” it said on its Twitter account.

“Whether 1 of our missing #ChibokGirls or not, we are excited over everyone who regains their freedom & we look forward to all returning.”

Boko Haram kidnapped 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town in Borno state on the evening of April 14, 2014.
Fifty-seven escaped in the hours that followed but 219 were not so lucky. Since then, 106 girls have been found, rescued or released, including 82 who were freed earlier this month in a prisoner swap deal for a number of Boko Haram suspects in custody.

In May 2016, just hours after the first Chibok girl was found, the military said a second had been rescued. The girl later turned out to be a younger student at the same school, who was also kidnapped but not part of the 219.
Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of young women and girls during its eight-year insurgency to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

Young men and boys have also been forcibly recruited to fight in the jihadists’ ranks

Excitement As Parents Of 82 Released Chibok Girls Receive Good News

The federal government will transport parents of released Chibok girls to Abuja, Two parents or guardians of the girls each will meet for the first time since they were released. The girls were exchanged for some Boko Haram commanders and the federal government will convey parents and relatives of the 82 released Chibok girls to meet with their daughters on Friday, May 19.

The Punch reports that a top security source confirmed that 164 parents and relatives of the 82 Chibok schoolgirls would be taken to Abuja to meet with their girls.

The source said: “82 girls were rescued two weeks ago. Each of the girls is entitled to two parents or two relatives as the case may be which implies that 164 parents or relatives will be conveyed to Abuja by the Federal Government. “They will be given accommodation and will be reunited with their children/wards on Saturday.”

“A combined team of soldiers, policemen and men of the Department of State Services are expected to escort and coordinate the parents during the journey. For security reasons, I cannot state the course of their journey. “You can imagine the scandal that it would cause if the parents of Chibok girls were kidnapped. Be assured that the Federal Government will incur all the costs.”

Mr. Yahi Dwata whose niece, Comfort Bulus, was one of the released girls confirmed the planned meeting with the girls although he said he won’t be joining from Chibok as he was based in Lagos.

He said: “It is true. We are all expected to meet in Abuja on Friday. I am in Lagos so I will not be leaving from Chibok with the others but I have been speaking with Comfort’s mother and the others. We are all happy that after three years, we will be reunited.” Meanwhile, the Nigeria Army said it has arrested about 126 suspected Boko Haram members. The army revealed that the suspect

Army chief, Lucky Irabor, made the disclosure while fielding questions from journalists in Maiduguri. The Major General said the suspects were flushed out during mop up operations. Irabor said that the mop up was conducted after the Boko Haram terrorists stormed Sabon Gari area in Damboa Local Government area of the state.

Osinbajo Confirms Rescue Of Another Chibok Girl

The presidency Wednesday announced the discovery of another girl, bringing the total number of girls who have regained freedom to 164.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the information was made public by Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Adesina was said to have disclosed that acting President Yemi Osinbajo who announced the girl’s rescue during the FEC meeting, said the girl had been brought to Abuja to join other girls who had earlier been rescued.
“Yes, at the Federal Executive Council meeting, the vice-president broke the cheery news to members of the cabinet and after that I have also spoken to defence people who confirmed it.

“The details are yet to be fully unravelled. But in terms of is it true? Yes, it is true. I learnt she’s already been brought to Abuja, but I have not seen her,” Adesina was quoted as saying.

The Man Who Brokered the Deal to Release the Chibok Girls, ByAdaobi Tricia Nwaubani

When 57-year-old Zannah Mustapha arrived for the handover of the 82 Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram after three years in captivity, a militant read out the girls’ names from a list.

One by one, the abducted schoolgirls, now women, lined up along the outskirts of a forest near Kumshe town, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Each of them was covered from head to ankle in a dark-coloured hijab.

“I went ahead of the Red Cross. They [the militants] brought the girls to me,” said Mr Mustapha, the lawyer from Borno state in north-east Nigeria.

He has been mediating between the government and militants for the release of the Chibok girls and for an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
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In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari told the media that his government was willing to negotiate with “credible” leaders of Boko Haram for the release of the girls.

More than 200 of them were abducted a year earlier from the north-eastern town of Chibok, sparking global outrage.
Previous attempts had failed, with different groups coming forward, each claiming to be the militants in possession of the missing schoolgirls.

It was Mr Mustapha who succeeded in convincing the Nigerian authorities that this particular group should be taken for what they say, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told me.

Mr Mustapha then sought the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which began providing free meals to the pupils. He also encouraged parents to form an association which would reach out to other widows and convince them to send their children to his school.

The ICRC soon extended its humanitarian services to the mothers, providing them free food and other items every month.
“This was at a time when the wives of Boko Haram militants were being arrested and their houses demolished, so Boko Haram saw me and the ICRC as neutral parties,” Mr Mustapha said.

During the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency, to intervene in the escalating crisis.

He then set up a group to discuss peace with Boko Haram. Mr Mustapha was included in it because of the relationship he had forged with the families of Boko Haram militants.

After the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria paid a visit to the Future Prowess school in 2012, he arranged for Mr Mustapha to go to Zurich and Geneva to receive formal training as a mediator.

“We were already trying to negotiate peace with Boko Haram before the Chibok girls were kidnapped,” Mr Mustapha said.
The initial negotiation was for a batch of 20 Chibok girls to be released.

But, as a sign of commitment to their relationship, Boko Haram added an extra woman, whom Mr Mustapha said was their gift to him, hence the number 21.

When they were released in October 2016, she was chosen by Boko Haram to read out the names of the other 20 women from a list.
Mr Mustapha said the 21 women were lined up and asked by Boko Haram militants if they had been raped. They all said they were not.
When a militant approached a woman who was carrying a baby, she said that she was pregnant at the time of her abduction, having got married a few weeks earlier. The baby girl in her arms, she said, was her husband’s child.

For some reason, Boko Haram, a group that has cultivated a reputation for brutality, wanted it to be known that it was only after the women “agreed” to get married that the militants had sexual relations with them.

This process of lining up the women, pointing at each one and asking the same question, was repeated at the beginning of May when 82 more women were released.
One of about seven Boko Haram militants, who accompanied them, went from woman to woman asking: “Throughout the time you were with us, did anyone rape you or touch you?” Mr Mustapha said, adding that each of them replied in the negative.

None of the second batch of 82 captives came with a child.
But one had an amputated limb and was walking with crutches, an injury she sustained, according to what Mr Mustapha was told, during Nigerian military air strikes against Boko Haram.
‘They all ran’
“You are free today,” Mr Mustapha announced to the 82 women after all the names were called out.
“They all smiled,” he said.
He believes that their subdued reaction was as a result of the presence of the militants, all armed with guns, some wearing army camouflage uniforms and boots.

Mr Mustapha then took some photographs with the women. The militants also had their video camera on hand and recorded the event. ICRC vehicles eventually arrived.
“When I told them to go to the cars, they all ran,” Mr Mustapha said. “Immediately they entered the vehicles, they started singing for joy. Some shed tears.”

Mr Mustapha has received a number of accolades for his work with Future Prowess School. He was a finalist for the 2016 Robert Burns humanitarian award, given to those who have “saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole, through self-sacrifice, selfless service, hands-on charitable or volunteer work, or other acts”. He was also given a 2017 Aurora Prize Modern Day Hero award, for those whose “life and actions guarantee the safe existence of others”.

However, he described handing over the 82 freed girls to the Nigerian government as “the highest point in my life”.
“I felt that I have done something that is worth saying to the world that I have done this,” he said.

BBC

FG: Four Chibok Girls’ Babies In Our Custody

The federal government has confirmed that it has four babies born by the female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were kidnapped from their school dormitory three years ago by Boko Haram insurgents, in its custody.

Making this known yesterday, the government also opened up on the rehabilitation and reintegration programmes it is providing for the 106 Chibok schoolgirls who were either freed or had escaped from their captors, adding that it has concluded arrangements to reunite the 82 girls who were released recently with their parents this week.

Two hundred and seventy six students of the school in Chibok were abducted on April 14, 2014, sparking a global outcry and push for their rescue and return to their parents.

Fifty-seven of the girls escaped from captivity in the days immediately after their captivity, three more were able to escape between May 2016 and January 2017, another 21 were freed last October, while 82 were freed on May 6, 2017 after a prisoner swap with Boko Haram, bringing the total number of girls still in captivity to 113.

Of the 163 girls that have either escaped or regained their freedom, 106 remain in the custody of the federal government in Abuja, fuelling concerns over why they have not been reintegrated with their families and community, or even sent back to school by government.

However, the federal government in a statement from the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement (PODE) said yesterday that the parents and families of all the girls had been contacted and arrangements were already being made to reunite them with the girls.

“We expect that this reunion will happen in the week commencing 15th May, 2017,” it said.

It added that the girls would be given appropriate and comprehensive medical and psychological care and support, and government would underwrite all of the care they will receive, as well as ensuring that their education is concluded.

“The ultimate goal is to reunite them with their families, reintegrate them into the society and support them to achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals and ambitions,” the government said in the statement.

It said the 21 girls who were released in October 2016 and the additional three that gained their freedom were in a secure location in Abuja.

Providing more insight, it said the girls were undergoing a nine-month reintegration and rehabilitation programmes comprising psychological counselling and care, remedial education, vocational training (skills like catering and tailoring) as well as sports and recreation (football and handball).

“In addition to the girls there are four babies, also in the care of the government. All four babies belong to mothers within the batch of 24,” it added.

It described as absolutely false, claims that the parents of the girls had been denied access to them or that the girls were being held against their wishes.

It stressed that those who had complained about not having access to the girls were either community people or activists who have no filial or direct relationships with the girls.

Chibok Girls: UNFPA Funding Stopped

The rehabilitation of the released schoolgirls may suffer a setback following a directive by the United States Government to stop the funding of the United Nations Population Fund.

The UNFPA is a UN agency which focuses on curbing child marriage, unwanted pregnancies and also provides supplies and services to victims.

The agency had recently promised to “provide emergency reproductive health care and psychosocial counseling and support” to the recently rescued girls.

However, UNFPA’s Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Eugene Kongnyuy, said the funding cuts had already hurt the agency’s ability to help kidnapped women and girls recover after being freed by Boko Haram.

Kongnyuy was quoted as saying this during an interview with Karen Attiah, The Washington Post’s Global Opinions Editor.

In the article, which was published in the US-based newspaper on Friday, Kongnyuy said, “We receive fewer funds so our capacity to respond now is limited.

“The United States used to contribute funding to our regular resources. This year we requested $1m from the US government for our gender-based violence program in the North-East, and initially, it was approved.

“A few days ago, we were informed that the funding would not come. We could have used that money to respond quicker to the needs of the recently released girls.”

Boko Haram: Freed 82 Chibok Girls To Meet Parents On Friday

News reports that the Federal Government has invited parents of the 82 Chibok schoolgirls, who were released penultimate weekend by Boko Haram, to Abuja where they will be re-united with their daughters.

The Chairman, Chibok Community in Abuja, Mr. Hosea Tsambido, said this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday.

Some Chibok representatives, who met with the Federal Government last week, were given photographs of the girls while the representatives handed over the pictures of the released girls to the parents in Chibok for identification.

It was learnt that the concerned parents had been able to identify the girls and were therefore asked to come to Abuja to meet the girls on Friday.

Tsambido stated, “Many of the parents have identified their children through the photos and I was told that they are coming on Friday.”

When asked if the Federal Government would be sponsoring the trip, Tsambido said, “I don’t know. What the parents told me was that they were asked to come on Friday. I didn’t ask if the government would sponsor the trip but usually, the government sponsors such trips.”

 

The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, who is coordinating the rehabilitation of the Chibok girls, could not be reached on the telephone as she did not return calls to her telephone while she had yet to respond to a text message as of the time of filing this report.