Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday regretted that the 21 Chibok girls who were released from the captivity of Boko Haram insurgents last Thursday had seen the worst the world had to offer.
He said it was now time for them to experience the best that the world could offer them.
Buhari spoke while receiving the released girls and their parents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“These dear daughters of ours have seen the worst that the world has to offer. It is now time for them to experience the best that the world can do for them. The government and all Nigerians must encourage them to achieve their desired ambitions,” the President.
To this end, Buhari said the 21 girls would be given adequate and comprehensive medical, nutritional and psychological care and support.
He said the Federal Government would not only rehabilitate them, but would ensure that their reintegration back to the society was done as quickly as possible.
He added, “Aside from rescuing them, we are assuming the responsibility for their personal, educational and professional goals and ambitions in life.
“Obviously, it is not late for the girls to go back to school and continue the pursuit of their studies.
“The Federal Government appreciates the patience and understanding of the parents of all the abducted Chibok girls.
“We equally thank Nigerians and the international community for their support and prayers, and for never losing confidence in our ability to secure the safe release of our girls.”
Buhari described the return of the girls as a happy moment for him and all Nigerians, adding that it was a moment their parents, the nation and the international community had been eagerly waiting for since their abduction on April 14, 2014.
The President expressed the hope that the remaining girls in captivity would be freed and returned to their parents without further delay.
He attributed the release of the 21 girls to a series of negotiations between the Federal government and the Boko Haram group, brokered by friends of the country both local and international.
He added, “Since this administration assumed office, we have been working towards the safe release of the girls. The Nigerian DSS, the military and the other security agencies have spared no effort to secure our girls.
“These 21 girls are the manifestation of our doggedness and commitments to the release and return of the Chibok girls.
“While joining their parents to rejoice and praise the Almighty, we shall redouble efforts to ensure that we fulfill our pledge of bringing the remaining girls back home.
“Already, the credible first step has been taken and Government will sustain the effort until all the remaining girls return safely,”
A representative of the released girls, Rebecca Malu, had earlier in an emotion-laden voice told the President and other top government officials that they never envisaged that they would return from captivity alive.
That was after she had led her colleagues to sing praise songs.
“We are happy to see today. We do not know that we can come back to be part of Nigeria,” Malu said in passable English Language.
She therefore asked those present to continue to pray for the safe return of the remaining girls still in captivity inside Sambisa Forest.
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