The girls were released after the Federal Government’s successful negotiation with the notorious sect.
The girls, who spoke through their leader, Miss Hauwa Ntakai, made the call while speaking with journalists during a special luncheon organised by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in Abuja on Saturday.
The Chibok schoolgirl noted that government was focusing more attention on the release of the abducted schoolgirls because they were captured inside their college.
She urged the government to also direct its attention to other girls in Boko Karam captivity because, according to her, “the Sambisa Forest is a place of sorrow.”
She said, “We have many of our sisters there that are not students of any school and nobody talks about them. It is because we were abducted from a school that government talked to Boko Haram and they released us. We thank them (government) very much, we appreciate them. May the Lord bless them for what they have done.
‘I want to study law’
Ntakai said it was her ambition to read law.
She said, “I am one of the 82 Chibok girls that were released from Sambisa. I want to study law, I am feeling good because my parents can come and visit me. We thank them (government) a lot for what they have done because without them, we will not be released from Sambisa.
When asked if she was of the opinion that government should also talk about the other girls in captivity that were not pupils of Chibok school, she nodded in the affirmative.
She said, “Yes, because that forest (Sambisa) is a place of sorrow.”
Don’t stop scholarship, Peter appeals to FG
On her own part, another Chibok schoolgirl, Rhoda Peter, urged the government not to stop the scholarship extended to them under the rehabilitation programme.
Peter, who also said she had plans to be a lawyer, expressed her desire to go to school on scholarship to achieve her dream.
She said, “We are enjoying, our parents have been coming to visit us, this is the second time. We want to go back to school. I want to study to become a lawyer.
“I will stay with the government but I also want to be visiting my parents. I don’t want my scholarship to end here. I want my scholarship to continue.”
I want to be a doctor — Mwalin
For Rebecca Mwalin, who is the leader of the 21 Chibok girls earlier released, her desire is to study medicine.
She told journalists that the government had been taking good care of them since they were released.
She said, “We have been given many things; now, we are comfortable. I want to continue my studies. Since we were released, our mama (minister) has been taking good care of us. We are enjoying; we like the way she is handling us. We are comfortable. I want to study to be a doctor.”
I also wish to be a medical practitioner – Musa
Another girl, Helen Musa, also said it was her ambition to read medicine.
She commended Mama Taraba (as the minister is fondly called) for taking good care of them.
She said, “We are enjoying here. We like the way Mama Taraba has taking care of us. We are so grateful for what she has done for us. We are so grateful to her. Since we have been kept in the shelter, our parents have visited us three times.
“I want to go to school. I want to study science subjects because I want to be a doctor.”
106 Chibok girls to resume school September – FG
Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Saturday assured Nigerians that the 106 Chibok girls, who were released by the Boko Haram insurgents, would resume school in September 2017.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Jummai Alhassan, stated this during a special lunch organised for the girls and their parents in Abuja.
She said the girls were billed to be enrolled in schools because the rehabilitation and reintegration programmes organised for them would be concluded in September.
She said the Chibok girls had been rehabilitated and were ready to return to pursue academic activities.
However, Alhassan said the Federal Government would keep all the 106 girls in one institution in the North- East.
According to her, the Federal Government has initiated discussions with the American University of Nigeria, Yola, to admit the girls into its foundation programme.
She stated further that the management of AUN had earlier indicated interest in supporting the education of 21 girls released in October, 2016 but that the idea was put on hold when 82 other girls were released this year.
The minister stated further that the government was disposed to keeping all the 106 Chibok girls in AUN because it had the foundation programme required to prepare the girls for further education.
She said, “When the 21 girls were released, the American University indicated interest in supporting the girls just like other development partners in the country.
“The UN is supporting the government in its rehabilitation programme. Other people too have indicated interest in the education of the girls.
“From the time the 21 girls came, some institutions indicated interest in supporting them in their education when they finish their rehabilitation programme. The programme is coming to an end and the girls are due for school in September.
“The American University is supporting government in respect of the 21 girls earlier released but we don’t want to give the girls different standards of education.
“The girls are already here together, all of them will go to the American university. No other university has the type of foundation programme being offered by the AUN; that is why we are insisting that all the girls should be admitted to the programme.”
The minister added that AUN had earlier given scholarship to 14 of the girls who escaped from the Boko Haram enclave, and were made to go through the foundation programme preparatory to the degree courses.
The Vice President, Administration, of the AUN, Mr. Reginald Briggs, said two of the 24 girls were in year two studying Computer Science and Journalism.
He added that two other girls had been given admission to study accounting, three were doing pre-medical degree programmes, while one of them was billed to study law.
The minister later told journalists that the Federal Government was making efforts to get the remaining girls out of captivity.
She also appealed to the Boko Haram sect to embrace dialogue not only on the issue of the release of the abducted girls and other Nigerians in their custody but also to stop the insurgency in the North- East.
She said, “Negotiation with the Boko Haram leaders is still going on. You know the first 21 were released in October last year, and about six or seven months later, 82 others came. We are hopeful that by the grace of God, the rest will be released also.
“You heard me pleading with the people that are keeping the girls that they should please see reason and negotiate with the government and embrace dialogue not only because of the release of the Chibok girls but also the release of others that are in their captivity and even to stop the insurgency.
“They should dialogue and see reason and that whatever it is, they should come to the table.
Government is ready to engage them in a dialogue. “
The minister dismissed insinuations that the government was preventing the parents of the girls from visiting them, stressing that the girls were not compelled to be kept in government custody.
The minister also said that none of the girls was either HIV-positive or pregnant.
Chibok community hails govt
The Chairman, Abducted Chibok Girls Movement, Mr. Yakubu Keki, in an interview with journalists, commended the government for taking adequate care of the girls.
He said he had confidence in the ability of the government to negotiate the release of the remaining girls the same way their counterparts were freed.