The Federal Government says it has met with some representatives of parents of the 82 rescued Chibok girls.
The 82 schoolgirls, who were abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, were freed over the weekend after long negotiations between the Federal Government and the terror sect, Boko Haram.
The Swiss Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross were also involved in the talks, which also featured a lawyer, Zanna Mustapha, and Senator Shehu Sani as negotiators.
The government added that the representatives were given photographs of the rescued girls which would be handed over to the parents.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday.
Mohammed said the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, met with the representatives as the government believed this would be more convenient than asking all the parents to travel down to Abuja.
He said, “Chibok is not one village; the girls are from several communities. You need time to contact the parents. The Minister of Women Affairs has met with members of the Chibok association and they have been given pictures and names of the girls and in the next few days, we will get feedback.
“We don’t want a situation where somebody’s daughter, who is not there, will come all the way to Abuja only to be disappointed while the parents, whose daughters were actually rescued, would be left behind.
“So, it will take a few days to coordinate these things.”
Mohammed said the rescued girls were still undergoing several tests because they had been in captivity of three years and would need thorough examination.
A health official told one of our correspondents that the girls had undergone malaria, hepatitis and HIV tests.
“The girls have been in captivity with terrorists for over three years; so, the standard tests they are being given are HIV and other related STDs, hepatitis, malaria and others.
“They are the same tests that the previously rescued girls had all taken,” the official added.
My ward has phoned me –Guardian of girl
A guardian of one of the rescued girls, Mr. Yahi Dwata, stated that he had spoken with his ward, Comfort Bulus.
Dwata said he spoke to her on the telephone when one of the representatives of Chibok community visited the girls.
He said, “I spoke with my niece on the telephone on Tuesday. She also spoke with other members of the family. She sounded very okay and even asked after her sisters and friends.
“One of our representatives, who is a Chibok community leader, was also allowed to see her. I was very happy to hear her voice after three years.”
Girl’s mother attempted suicide twice
A member of the group, Dr. Allen Manasseh, said one of the Chibok girls, Amina Ali, who was rescued early last year, failed to communicate with security agents for up to three months until familiar faces were allowed to visit her.
Manasseh said keeping rescued girls from their families could also affect the parents.
He said, “Amina Ali’s mother attempted suicide twice when her daughter was missing. She had also developed hypertension. That kind of person should not be allowed to be away from her rescued child.
“The DSS people said the girl refused to speak for months but when I got there and I told her I was from her community and told her about people she was familiar with, she opened up to the extent that the DSS people were so surprised.”
Manasseh said the girls had suffered enough and it would be wrong of the government to continue to keep them.
While speaking with one of our correspondents, he said, “The reunion with loved ones is very important. Having spent three years in captivity, all these girls would be looking forward to seeing familiar faces; so, it is very critical for them.
“We are advocating that the reunion with loved ones is done immediately. It is as important as medical attention. It is common knowledge that a sick person heals faster when a loved one is at their bedside.”
Free remaining schoolgirls, NLC tells FG
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress has urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts to ensure the release of the remaining 113 Chibok girls, who are still in Boko Haram’s captivity.
The President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, who made the call in a statement on Wednesday, warned politicians against politicising the release of the girls.
He commended the Federal Government for securing the release of 82 of the abducted schoolgirls after three years in the captivity of the insurgents.
Wabba stated that the Congress was shocked by the negative comments made in some quarters about the release of the Chibok girls.
He said, “We would want to commend the government for securing the release of 82 additional Chibok girls from captivity. The government’s effort represents a commitment to its promise and obedience to public pressure.
“We also wish to express our profound happiness and relief as this set of girls re-unite with friends and families.
“The government should leave no stone unturned in order to ensure that the remaining 113 girls are freed.
“We are appalled by negative comments from some quarters about the circumstances surrounding the release of the 82 girls.
“We must not hesitate to caution those who seek to politicise everything in the land that whatever goes round, comes round, and above all, to note life is sacrosanct and that nothing supersedes it.”