Shortly after the 21 Chibok girls were released by the Boko Haram terrorists on Thursday, October 13, 2016, they were received by the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who calmed their nerves as he told them that the federal government has decided to give them scholarships to continue their education and provide them with jobs.
Freedom for the 21 Chibok girls elicited joy in the Borno State Government House and from the Bring Back Our Girls group, BBOG, which has been in the vanguard of the crusade to get the girls freed.
Welcoming the girls, the spokesman of the vice president, Laolu Akande, quoted his boss as assuring the freed girls saying:
“We are going to see to it that everything that you require going forward, perhaps, your education; those who need to go back to school, those who need to find employment, we are going to make sure that we make all the provisions for you.
“The federal government is very committed. The president, in particular, has asked me to tell you how excited he is. When you were away, he kept saying that if it were his daughter, he wouldn’t even know what to do.
“So, we are all very excited that you are here. We are all happy that God has preserved your lives and brought you back.
“I’m sure you know the whole country has been waiting for you to come back all these many months, the whole country has been waiting that one day, we’ll see you again and we’re very happy to see you back.
“We’re going to bring your parents; your parents will be coming here to join you. You can’t immediately be taken out of here because we need to be sure you’re in very good health.
“I’m sure you’re going to be very well taken care of. We’ve provided very good accommodation for you where you’ll stay, where you’ll sleep and your parents will come and meet you there also hopefully by tomorrow,” Akande quoted his boss as saying.
Meanwhile, Osinbajo told State House reporters yesterday night that “There was no exchange of any kind. There was no swap of any kind. Even when we started negotiations, we said we will consider all options available to us. Absolutely, there was no exchange of any kind.”
When asked if swaps would be used in rescuing other girls in captivity, the vice president said the government would use the same kind of negotiation and template used in rescuing the 21 Chibok girls that were freed yesterday to free more of them in the next few days or months. He nevertheless, stressed that the government would look at all alternatives and weigh them carefully before deciding what to do.
The vice president disclosed that one of the 21 freed girls had a baby, stressing that “She is the only one.”
On whether the Red Cross was involved in the rescue of the 21 Chibok girls, Osinbajo explained that the body was not involved in the negotiation process but was involved in “taking the girls back.” According to the vice president, that was because the government was unable to take its own medical team.
“The Swiss government worked with us in the process of negotiation, but the Red Cross was not involved in the negotiation. But in taking the girls back, of course, we worked with the Red Cross because we were unable to take our own medical team. The Red Cross was not involved at all in the process of negotiation. It was the Swiss government, our own officials: the DSS, intelligence and the military that were involved.”
The girls are currently at the DSS medical centre situated along the Airport Road, Abuja. That was where the vice president met them, said his spokesperson, Laolu Akande.