President Buhari’s remarks at the reception for 21 Chibok School girls at the State House, Abuja
Remarks by President Muhammadu Buhari at the reception for the recently released 21 Chibok School girls at the State House, Abuja October 19, 2016
My dear children. This is a happy moment for me and for all Nigerians. I welcome you back to freedom. It is a moment your parents, the Nation and the International Community have been eagerly waiting for, since your abduction on 14th April 2014.
We must from the onset, thank Almighty God for this day that 21 of the Chibok girls have again breathed the air of freedom and are reunited with their parents. We are equally prayerful, that God in his infinite mercies and benevolence will see to it that the girls remaining in captivity will be freed and returned to us soonest.
All Nigerians recall, sadly the night of 14th April 2014, 276 young female Nigerian students were abducted from the Government Secondary School in Chibok Borno State by the Boko Haram.
Fortunately, 57 of the kidnapped school girls were able to escape, leaving 219 in captivity. One of the abducted girls, Amina Ali was found in May 2016. And today we are here celebrating the freedom and return of another 21 girls that regained freedom on Thursday 13th October. We are equally as hopeful as we are praying, that the remaining girls will be freed and returned to us without further delay.
The release of these 21 girls followed a series of negotiations between Government and the Boko Haram group, brokered by our friends both local and International. Since this Administration assumed office, we have been working towards the safe release of the girls. The Nigerian DSS, Military and other Security Agencies have spared no effort to secure our girls. These 21 girls are the manifestation of our doggedness and commitments to the release and return of the Chibok girls.
While joining their parents to rejoice and praise the Almighty, we shall redouble efforts to ensure that we fulfill our pledge of bringing the remaining girls back home. Already, the credible first step has been taken and Government will sustain the effort until all the remaining girls return safely
These 21 girls will be given adequate and comprehensive medical, nutritional and psychological care and support. The Federal Government will rehabilitate them, and ensure that their reintegration back to the Society is done as quickly as possible.
Aside from rescuing them, we are assuming the responsibility for their personal, educational and professional goals and ambitions in life. Obviously, it is not late for the girls to go back to school and continue the pursuit of their studies.
These dear daughters of ours have seen the worst that the world has to offer. It is now time for them to experience the best that the world can do for them. The Government and all Nigerians must encourage them to achieve their desired ambitions.
The Federal Government appreciates the patience and understanding of the parents of all the abducted Chibok girls. We equally thank Nigerians and the International Community for their support and prayers, and for never losing confidence in our ability to secure the safe release of our girls.
Once again, I congratulate the 21 released girls, their parents, the Chibok Community the security agencies and all Nigerians on this day of delight and rejoicing.