By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja
There was outpouring of emotions yesterday as the 82 Chibok school girls who were rescued recently from the Boko Haram nest reunited with their parents and other members of their families after three years in captivity.
LEADERSHIP Weekend, our sister publication, had reported exclusively penultimate Saturday that Chibok community in Borno State had been enveloped in a frenzy of excitement as parents of the 82 schoolgirls waited patiently to see them next week.
This followed the announcement by the federal government that the girls will be reunited with their parents this week.
Since they were released three weeks ago in a prisoner swap deal after months of negotiations between government and the sect, the 82 girls have been staying in a facility of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja.
Before meeting with their family members yesterday, the girls were earlier reunited with 24 others who were rescued by the federal government last year.
In an emotion laden ceremony in Abuja yesterday, both the girls and members of their families shed tears of joy after missing themselves for over three years.
At the event, the minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Jummai Alhassan, noted that a group of experts have been put together to address the girls’ psycho-social support and medical needs.
Noting that the girls were rehabilitated and declared fit by medical experts, the minister said that the girls would be settled in various schools where they will continue their education.
Alhassan who was represented by the director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Abidemi Aremo, also disclosed that the 24 others who were rescued last year were currently undergoing psycho-social counseling and remedial programme, preparatory to their enrollment in school next academic session.
She said, “The children are being rehabilitated and we believe that in due course, they will be properly aligned with their families. Intensive medical attention is being administered and as soon as they are done, they will be enrolled into a remedial programme.
“For the 21 and three other girls that were earlier released, I wish to inform us that their psycho-social counseling is still in progress and, of course, they have started remedial classes.
“They are being taught five subjects, which is designed with a view to getting them back to school come the next school session, which is in September this year. They will be settled in various schools and I am sure they will continue their education from there”.
The minister further stated that the federal government has intensified efforts to rescue the remaining girls in captivity, even as she expressed appreciation to all those involved in the rescue mission, particularly the security agencies, development partners and non-governmental organisations.
On his part, the chairman of the parents of the abducted school girls, Yakubu Nkeki, said their joy knows no bounds, just as he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for wiping away their tears.
Nkeki said he has high hopes that very soon the remaining girls still in captivity will be rescued.
So far, a total of 106 Chibok school girls have been rescued out of 219 girls abducted on April 14, 2014.