Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Released Chibok Girls
Compiled by the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement (PODE)
- How many girls have been freed so far?
One hundred and six (106) of the abducted Chibok school girls have so far found freedom. 21 were freed by Boko Haram in October 2016, and 82 in May 2017. Three girls escaped individually, in May 2016, November 2016 and January 2017 respectively. In addition to the girls there are 4 babies, also in the care of the Government. All 4 babies belong to mothers within the batch of 24 (21 + 3) girls.
2. What do we know about the 82 girls most recently freed?
The 82 girls were safely released by Boko Haram to the Department of State Services (DSS) on Saturday May 6, 2017, in Borno State — after a lengthy series of negotiations involving local and international stakeholders. The International Committee of the Red Cross acted as neutral intermediaries for the handover of the girls from Boko Haram to the Nigerian Government. The 82 girls were flown to Abuja on Sunday May 7, 2017. They met with President Buhari that day.
3. Were the girls swapped for Boko Haram fighters?
Yes. The Federal Government disclosed this as soon as the girls were released. Please note that President Buhari has repeatedly stated his readiness to swap fighters for the girls, if necessary. We have no regrets or apologies for the swap.
4. Where are the 82 girls currently?
The 82 girls are being held in a secure medical facility in Abuja, with access to a team of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers and trauma experts. They are undergoing medical checks and tests, and receiving appropriate courses of treatment where necessary. Their physical and psychological wellbeing is and continues to be the utmost priority of the Federal Government.
5. Have the girls’ families been contacted?
Yes, the parents and families of all the girls have been contacted, and arrangements are already being made to reunite them with the girls. We expect that this reunion will happen in the week commencing 15th May, 2017
6. What’s the next step regarding the released girls?
They will be given appropriate and comprehensive medical and psychological care and support. The Federal Government will underwrite all of the care they will receive, as well as their educational ambitions. 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.
7. What about the rest of the Chibok girls still being held by Boko Haram?
Negotiations are continuing for their release. The sensitive nature of the situation means that there are limits to the kind of information that can be released to the public regarding these negotiations.
8. What’s happening with the 21 girls freed in October 2016
The previously freed girls (21 freed in October 2016, and the additional 3 that gained their freedom in May 2016, November 2016 and January 2017 respectively) are in a secure location in Abuja, undergoing a 9-month Reintegration and Rehabilitation Programme comprising the following:
· Psychological Counselling and Care
· Remedial Education
· Vocational Training (skills like Catering and Tailoring)
· Sports and Recreation (Football and Handball)
9. Is it true that the Federal Government is holding the previously released 21 girls against their wishes?
This is absolutely false. The girls and their parents have made it clear to the Federal Government that they wish to remain under the care of the Federal Government in Abuja at this time. The girls are all in high spirits, and are enthusiastic about taking advantage of this opportunity for education and self-development. At no point have they or will they be compelled to remain in the care of the government against their will. At the end of the reintegration programme, the girls will take up Federal Government scholarships for the completion of their secondary education.
The newly-released 82 girls will enjoy the same opportunities accorded the 24 previously rescued girls.
10. Is it true that the families of the 21 girls are being prevented from having access to them?
This is absolutely false. The girls’ families are regularly in Abuja to see them. Chibok girls are high-profile targets, and the Government is taking the utmost care to ensure their security and safety.
The girls have also been scheduled for quarterly visits back home to Chibok, subject to security clearance by the authorities. They visited for Christmas, and were due to return at Easter, but the security conditions back home did not permit the April trip. Instead their families travelled to Abuja to see them.
Also note that the persons complaining about being denied access to the 21 girls are not their biological parents or guardians. We are very careful who we grant access to, to see the girls. We will only grant access to their biological parents and/or direct guardians, and not community members, both for security and for psychological reasons. We do not want people to keep asking them questions that will make them relive the horrible experiences they had while in captivity.
Other Useful Information
You can find an update on the 21 girls (including interviews with some of them) here: bit.ly/COMINGHOMEDOCUMENTARY
The Federal Government would like to thank all Nigerians for their support and for never losing confidence in the ability and assurances of Mr. President to secure the safe release of our Chibok Girls. This is the most glaring manifestation to date of the unwavering commitment of Mr. President to secure the safe release of the girls and reunite them with their families. It is also a result of the round-the-clock efforts by the Administration to bring closure to the issue of the kidnap of the girls.
MAY 12, 2017