Recall that the 10 girls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity after being abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, on April 14, 2014, have been in the United States, under the care of Emmanuel Ogebe, a U.S.-based civil rights lawyer and social welfare campaigner. However, according to the Nigerian Ministry of Women Affairs, the Federal Government of Nigeria has taken over the care of the escaped Chibok girls who are currently studying in the country.
A statement by the ministry released through Temitope Bamgboye, the director of social welfare at the Ministry and sent to Premium Times on Tuesday night said:
“Following a meeting held on May 25, between parents of the escaped Chibok girls studying in America and officials of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in charge of the Chibok Girls Desk specially set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, including its representatives and agents, is now in charge of the girls.
“The parents signed Declaration forms authorizing the ministry to take over guardianship of their daughters. Any previous guardianship arrangement has thus been revoked.”
The statement added that the information had been passed on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is to ensure that order is carried out through the Nigerian Embassy in DC. “The same will also be communicated to the US State Department through the US Embassy in Nigeria”.
The ministry further disclosed that the original plan of allowing the escaped Chibok girls to remain in the US to pursue further education and to graduate, uninterrupted, in a safe and nurturing environment and away from the public glare, will still be adhered to. The statement also said:
“The girls’ suffering at the hands of their Boko Haram captors is painful enough and they must at all costs be protected from any further ordeals.
“The Federal Government would also like to caution parents to exercise care and caution when signing away to any individual or group, the rights of guardianship to their children. They must be sure that they know exactly who the person or group is, and that they fully understand their intentions for their children.”
However, the news of President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to the Nigerian embassy in Washington to take possession of the girls from Emmanuel Ogebe, who had been raising funds to care for them, came as a shock to the former care-giver.
Mr. Ogebe said the move was emblematic of Mr. Buhari’s “government of photography and press statements”, given that “no official communication” had been channeled to him to that effect.