From TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU, Maiduguri
The Federal Government has said it cannot afford the cost of training 10 Chibok girls taken to the United States by some individuals and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) but now stranded.
The 10 girls were among the 57 schoolgirls accounted to have escaped from Boko Haram few days after their abduction by the insurgents on April 14, 2014.
Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aishatu Alhassan told newsmen at a briefing in Maiduguri yesterday that her ministry was inundated with requests to intervene in the academic careers of the 15 Chibok girls taken to the US by some individuals and NGOs with the consent of their parents.
“These girls were among those that escaped from Boko Haram after their abduction. Those who took them to the U.S did so, on a private arrangement. The Federal Government was not involved and we learnt these girls weren’t going to school over there. We waded in when we learnt the girls were being used to solicit for donations in the U.S.
“This prompted the president to permit me to meet with their parents to discuss the way forward because I have told them the reality on ground now; that this government cannot afford the cost of their studies in the U.S now in view of the present economic reality,” Alhassan told newsmen shortly after meeting with the parents in Maiduguri Government House on Thursday night.
She said her interactions with the parents and guardians of Chibok girls revealed that a total of 15 Chibok girls were taken to the U.S aftermath of the 2014 abduction. “From my discussions with the parents, I discovered five who had gone earlier to the U.S are getting along with their studies while the Murtala Foundation (named after the late Head of State, Gen Murtala Mohammed), has agreed to sponsor five,” she explained. She said two out of the remaining five girls were with a white man, while three are with a lawyer who had written the Federal Ministry of Women affairs, informing it of the girls condition.
She said government could not finance their education because of the current economic condition, but assured it would facilitate sponsorship through some NGOs and international donors.