The Federal Government is still negotiating the release of the remaining Chibok girls in Boko Haram captivity, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, HajiyaAisha Jummai Alhassan, said yesterday. She also urged Nigerians, especially the media, to avoid reopening the girls’ wounds by asking them to recount their experiences in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents.
The minister said at a news conference in Abuja that such questions would only make the girls relive their bad experiences. She noted that it took the federal government seven months to secure the release of 82 of them after the release of the first set of in May 2016. She said so far, the girls had gradually overcome their trauma and were ready to be reintegrated into the community and further their education.
According to her, the 106 released girls will be returning to their respective communities in Chibok on holidays like all other students to spend at least a week with their parents before they go to school.
She said: “The girls have been provided psycho-social support services to help erase unpleasant memories and override their traumatic experiences. So far, they are now stabilized and most of their traumatic stress disorder symptoms have been overcome and previous frequent incidents of flashbacks, insomnia and nightmares have now been successfully brought under control.
“Through rigorous and extensive time with social workers, councilors and psychologists, the girls are now looking forward to a bright and promising future. The girls are not kept in isolation, they are going to university,” she said.
The minister said all the 106 girls were being confined to a single school in the Northeast because the AUN is the only institution with the foundation programme required for them.
She added that some of the over 50 girls who escaped were taken to private schools in Jos and Zaria but the schools were said to have told the government that they did not have the capacity for such a large number.