Maiduguri – The Federal Government announced on Friday that the Murtala Muhammed Foundation has
taken over full sponsorship of five out of the 10 students of Government Secondary School (GSS) Chibok, Borno, currently studying in the U.S.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, made this known shortly after meeting with parents of the girls in Maiduguri.
Alhassan said that the Foundation took over the sponsorship after it was approached by government, explaining that the girls were part of the 10 taken to the U.S. by some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on the guise of taking them to school.
She said “what happened was that the girls escaped from Boko Haram captivity and returned home to Chibok.
“But some NGOs and religious organisations approached the parents with offers to take them away from the area due to the trauma.”
Alhassan added that the parents accepted to release the girls without notifying government and that the NGOs took the girls to U.S. on the guise of sending them to school.
“Government was not part of the arrangement because nobody was contacted,” the minister said.
She, however, said that the parents petitioned the Federal Government that they had received negative reports on the girls.
“The parents sent information to government that they heard that the girls were not in school in the U.S. and that government should intervene in the matter.
“We investigated the matter through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in the U.S. and found it to be true.
“Our investigations corroborated the parents claim that the girls were not taken to school, rather, they were being used by the NGOs to make money.
“But government does not take responsibility over someone else mistake.”
Alhassan said President Muhammadu Buhari ordered her to meet with the parents over the issue, “so, I have come here to meet with the parents and we have discussed, I have told them the options available.
“What we can do is to talk to some donor agencies that we are working with so that they can take up the sponsorship of the girls.
“Consequently, I am happy to say that the Murtala Muhammad Foundation has taken over the sponsorship of five out of the 10
“They have found schools for them and they are doing well.”
She noted that the remaining five girls were still in the custody of two individuals in the U.S., saying “we understood that a white man has two of the girls, while one Emmanuel, a Nigerian, is keeping three, also in the U.S.”
Alhassan said that the Murtala Muhammad Foundation had also signified interest in taking the two girls from the white man.
“We spoke with Aisha Muhammad, the Chairperson of the Foundation and she agreed to take over the sponsorship of the two girls with the white man.
“But she declined to extend the scholarship to three of the girls with Emmanuel.”
She said it was discovered that there were other five Chibok girls in the U.S. also studying apart from the 10.
“Today during our discussions, we realised that there was a first group of five girls taken to the U.S.
“But the parents said that they were in touch with them and the girls are in good hands,” Alhassan said.