By Tobias Lengnan Dapam, Umar Muhammad Puma and Albert AkotaAbuja
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the United Nations Children Funds have expressed delight over the return of Dapchi school girls.
UNICEF in a statement issued yesterday by its Communication Specialists, Eva Hinds said the organization’s Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall, gave this indication after the release of the girls.
“UNICEF is delighted that the girls abducted on 19 February 2018 from a school in Dapchi, Yobe state, northeast Nigeria were returned to their families. According to unconfirmed reports, 105 girls have been returned.
“We are pleased to see that the girls are back in the safe environment of their families.
“UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Youth in Yobe state to provide the necessary support to the girls and their families. Over the last one month, the girls may have been exposed to physical and sexual violence. They need the support of their families and communities to feel safe and return to school,” the statement said.
Atiku in a press statement released by his media office in Abuja on Wednesday, said he was gladdened by the return of the girls and expressed joy that some families who had been heartbroken will now have the tears wiped from their faces, as will other Nigerians who were distressed by the kidnappings.
“This is a moment of joy for all of us as a nation,” he said. “We may not all be in Dapchi at the moment but we are all celebrating with the families, the community and the entire Yobe State.”
Atiku, however, noted that the grief of the parents whose daughters weren’t returned would probably take on a new and more tormenting dimension, as they continue to wait and pray for their safe return.
“May God continue to strengthen and give them hope,” he said.
Similarly, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has described the release of some of the recently abducted Dapchi girls as a great relief to the nation and a reassuring signal for the rescue of others still in captivity, including the Chibok Girls.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mrs. Oti Ovrawah stated this while reacting to the reported release of the girls in Abuja.
A press statement made available to pressmen in Abuja by the head media relations of the commission, Fatimah Agwai Mohammad, quoted the ES as saying that “this traumatic serial abduction is a threat to among others, the right to life and right to education of the girl child in Nigeria.”
She therefore called on the security services to take additional measures to protect schools and educational infrastructures particularly, in the North East.