The Federal Government on Thursday renewed its resolve to negotiate for the release of the over 80 remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls and other captives. The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, said this at a media briefing in Abuja.
“We cannot say when the girls will be released, if they will release the remaining girls for their members we will gladly do that and we don’t regret our actions.
“If we have our way, the girls will be released tomorrow but negotiation is still ongoing for the remaining abducted girls,” she said.
Mrs. Alhassan explained that the 82 girls released recently were undergoing medical screening, and would afterwards go for psychosocial therapy and refresher courses to facilitate their quick reintegration into the society.
She said pictures of the 82 girls had been sent for their parents to confirm their identification as some have similar names.
“It is not true that we are not allowing the parents to see their children; we allow them access but not every day.
“Most of them prefer to be here because they don’t want to be reminded of their experiences having to go to their community.
“Those saying we are not allowing them access are not the direct parents of the girls; we cannot bring anybody to see them apart from their biological parents, allowing visitors everyday will not allow them to heal fast.”
She said allowing unnecessary visits would jeopardise the release of the remaining girls and other captives.
Alhassan said there was need to help the girls forget the trauma they experienced from the bush.
She said all the girls would resume the new academic session in September, including the recently released 82 Chibok girls, adding that they will undergo skill acquisition and ICT.
“The other girls released earlier have been undergoing some teachings in Biology, Civic Education, English, Mathematics and Geography pending the time they will resume school.
“The 82 girls who will undergo medical screening and psychosocial therapy will also join in the new academic session,’’ Alhassan said.
According to her, the first 24 girls released were in bad shape before they underwent two months screening.
The minister added that a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and a doctor were available to attend to the girls.
Mrs. Alhassan said the girls were given adequate care by the Federal Government to enable them live a normal life.