A girl released by Boko Haram walks with her father (L) in Dapchi on March 21, 2018. Boko Haram Islamists who kidnapped 110 schoolgirls in Dapchi, northeast Nigeria, just over a month ago have so far returned 101 of the students to the town, the government said today. / AFP PHOTO
Abuja – The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says it is on standby to provide emergency reproductive healthcare and psycho-social counselling and support to the released Dapchi school girls abducted by Boko Haram.
The fund said in a statement issued by Mrs Kori Habib, the Media Adviser, that UNFPA Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja congratulated Federal Government over release of the Dapchi girls after weeks in captivity.
Habib stated that UNFPA was already in Yobe, providing psychosocial counselling to parents and families of the girls.
She added that the fund was on standby to support Federal Government toward providing comprehensive psychosocial support and other specialised services for the girls.
She noted that “UNFPA staff and supported health clinics are on standby to provide medical check-ups to the released Dapchi school girls.”
Habib also quoted the UNFPA Representative in Nigeria, Ms Diene Keita, as commending Federal Government for helping and protecting women and girls affected by the conflict in the northeast.
The country representative, however, expressed concern over what she described as
“thousands of women and children still held in captivity by Boko Haram.”
Keita, therefore, called for greater efforts to bring the women and children still held in captivity by Boko Haram to safety and home to their families.
She said “UNFPA condemns all forms of violation and calls on Boko Haram to end all grave violations against women and girls, especially the abduction and sexual abuse and forced marriage of girls.
“UNFPA calls on government to ensure that schools remain in places of safety and security, where young girls and boys can learn and grow in peace.
“Girls and young women must be allowed to go to school without fear of violence and unjust treatment so that they can play their rightful roles as equal citizens of the world.
“There must be measures put in place to stop violation of the rights to education and dignity to women and girls in Nigeria as a whole,’’ Keita said.
She added that since the insurgency in the North-East started, six in 10 girls were reported to have experienced a form of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and many had limited access to reproductive healthcare.
She said UNFPA and partners provided direct prevention and response services to over 200,000 women and girl survivors or at risk of GBV through the fund’s “safe spaces” and community outreach.
She explained that over 3.5 million survivors were provided with sexual and reproductive health care services and psychosocial support and counselling.
She said “UNFPA has a comprehensive response for women and girls affected by the conflict in the Northeast and works with national authorities to support women and girls who escaped or were released from Boko Haram.” (NAN)