President Muhammadu Buhari has approved payment of the sum of N164.8m as second-semester school fees for the 106 freed Chibok girls currently schooling in the American University of Nigeria, AUN, Yola.
The AUN is owned by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
This was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement released on Sunday.
According to the statement, the Federal Government will cater for the girls’ tuition fee til graduation.
“In line with, the President has approved payment of the sum of N164,763,759 (one hundred and sixty four million, seven hundred and sixty-three naira) for the second semester school fees of the 106 Chibok girls at the American University of Nigeria, AUN in Yola,” the statement read.
“Absorption of the 106 girls into the school marked the beginning of their integration into the larger Nigerian society, thus fulfilling President Buhari’s promise of providing the best education for them. Although they have been officially handed over to their parents. The Federal Government will continue to be responsible for the payment of the Chibok girls’ school fees right up to their graduation from the school,” Shehu stated.
President Buhari approved the fee just as he renewed government commitment to ensuring that all the Chibok girls still held hostage by the Boko Haram terrorists are returned to their parents safely.
The president, who was reviewing the progress report submitted to him in line with his commitment to personally monitor the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of the freed Chibok girls, also gave assurances that government will provide full support for their education.
Written in the progress report received is the decision to pursue avenues in addition to military action to free the abducted girls, to protect the lives of all Nigerians, to end the insurgency in the North-east of the country, and to fulfil one of the campaign promises of the president.
In line with this, the federal government entered into negotiations with the Boko Haram terrorist group for the release of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their school dormitory on the night of April 14, 2014.
As Nigerians and the world had witnessed, so far, two batches of 21 and 82 girls have been freed as a result of those negotiations. Three additional girls were rescued by the gallant efforts of our armed forces, bringing the total number of freed Chibok girls so far to 106.
The Chibok girls were taken to secure medical centres for attention. They also went through debriefing and de-radicalisation by security operatives, after which the girls were handed over to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
With the efforts of government, through the ministry of women affairs and in collaboration with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, UNFPA, UN Women, and other donor agencies, the Chibok girls embarked on programmes earmarked to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration within a nine-month time frame.
A hostel in the National Centre for Women Development was converted into a suitable shelter, where the girls were kept and were given lessons in English, Mathematics, Biology, Agriculture, and Civic Education.
The programme, which began in January 2017, ended in September 2017, recorded significant improvement in the academic performance of the girls. A final send-off party was organised for the 106 Chibok girls in September and they were subsequently moved to the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola for their foundation studies and continuation of their education.