Five of the 10 Chibok girls who were taken to the United States after their escape from Boko Haram are actually not in school, it has been revealed.
The out-of-school girls were originally 10 in number, but the Murtala Muhammed Foundation has agreed to fully sponsor the education of five of them.
Aisha Alhassan, minister of women Affairs, made this known on Friday shortly after meeting with parents of the girls in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.
She said the foundation took over the sponsorship after it was approached by government on the explanation that the girls were part of the 10 taken to the US by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the guise of taking them to school.
“What happened was that the girls escaped from Boko Haram captivity and returned home to Chibok,” Alhassan said.
“But some NGOs and religious organisations approached the parents with offers to take them away from the area due to the trauma.
“The parents accepted to release the girls without notifying government, and that the NGOs took the girls to US on the guise of sending them to school. Government was not part of the arrangement because nobody was contacted.”
She said the parents subsequently petitioned the federal government that they had received negative reports on the girls.
“The parents sent information to government that they heard that the girls were not in school in the US and that government should intervene in the matter.
“We investigated the matter through the ministry of foreign affairs and the Nigerian embassy in the US, and found it to be true.
“Our investigations corroborated the parents claim that the girls were not taken to school; rather, they were being used by the NGOs to make money. But government does not take responsibility over someone else’s mistake.”
Alhassan said President Muhammadu Buhari directed her to meet with the parents over the issue.
“So, I have come here to meet with the parents and we have discussed. I have told them the options available,” she said.
“What we can do is to talk to some donor agencies that we are working with so that they can take up the sponsorship of the girls.
“Consequently, I am happy to say that the Murtala Muhammad Foundation has taken over the sponsorship of five out of the 10
girls. They have found schools for them and they are doing well.”
She noted that the remaining five girls were still in the custody of two individuals in the US, saying “we understood that a white man has two of the girls, while one Emmanuel, a Nigerian, is keeping three, also in the US.”
Alhassan said that the Murtala Muhammad Foundation had also signified interest in taking the two girls from the white man.
“We spoke with Aisha Muhammad, the chairperson of the foundation and she agreed to take over the sponsorship of the two girls with the white man.
“But she declined to extend the scChibokholarship to three of the girls with Emmanuel. Today, during our discussions, we realised that there was a first group of five girls taken to the US, but the parents said that they were in touch with them and the girls are in good hands.”