The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed the release of 82 more of the abducted Chibok Girls by Boko Haram with a promise to support Federal Government in providing comprehensive psychosocial services for them.
UNICEF in a statement this evening also offers to assist with reuniting the girls with their families and to ensure they continue their education in a safer environment.
The UN agency’s statement signed by its Emergency Communication Specialist, Harriet Dwyer followed the arrival of the girls to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The 82 girls who were driven into Abuja in two Nigerian Army Buses were accompanied to the Villa by the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Al-hassan and are being recieved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to UNICEF, “It is heartening to know that the girls will be returning to their families who have been waiting for this day. They will face a long and difficult process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable horror and trauma they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram”.
The Agency noted further, “UNICEF is on standby to support the Nigerian authorities to provide the comprehensive psychosocial support and other specialized services needed. We will help reunite the girls with their families and make sure they can continue their education in a safe environment”.
Already staff at a UNICEF supported health clinic have been supporting immediate efforts to identify the girls and conduct medical check-ups before their onward transport.
The UN body has however called on Boko Haram to end all grave violations against children, especially the abduction of children and the sexual abuse and forced marriage of girls.
“We commend the government for this important achievement in helping to protect children impacted by the conflict in northeast Nigeria but remain deeply concerned for the thousands of women and children still held in captivity by Boko Haram. Greater efforts must be made to bring them all to safety and home to their families”, the statement further reads.
According to Dwyer, “UNICEF has a comprehensive response to help children who have been affected by the conflict in the Lake Chad Basin and works with national authorities to support hundreds of children and women who have escaped or been released from Boko Haram.
“Every child is unique and requires different levels of support, so there is no standard formula or defined timeframe for these children to recover. UNICEF is committed to doing whatever it takes, as long as it takes to help these children recover a sense of normalcy with our available resources”, said Dwyer.”