Nigeria sacks guardian of escaped Chibok girls in U.S., hands girls to embassy

FILE PHOTO: Ogebe, the girls and others shortly after their arrival in the USA

The Federal Government of Nigeria has taken over the care of the girls currently studying in the US, who escaped from Boko Haram captivity after being abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, on April 14, 2014, the Nigerian ministry of women affairs has said.

“Following a meeting held on May 25, between parents of the escaped Chibok girls studying in America and officials of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in charge of the Chibok Girls Desk specially set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, including its representatives and agents, is now in charge of the girls. The parents signed Declaration forms authorizing the ministry to take over guardianship of their daughters,” the ministry said via a statement by Temitope Bamgboye, the director of social welfare at the Ministry.

“Any previous guardianship arrangement has thus been revoked,” the statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday night said.

The statement added, “This information has been transmitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is to ensure that this is effected through the Nigerian Embassy in DC. The same will also be communicated to the US State Department through the US Embassy in Nigeria.

“The plan is that the girls remain in the US to pursue further education and to graduate, uninterrupted, in a safe and nurturing environment and away from the public glare, which was supposed to be the plan in the first place.

“The girls’ suffering at the hands of their Boko Haram captors is painful enough and they must at all costs be protected from any further ordeals.

“The Federal Government would also like to caution parents to exercise care and caution when signing away to any individual or group, the rights of guardianship to their children. They must be sure that they know exactly who the person or group is, and that they fully understand their intentions for their children.”

Emmanuel Ogebe, a US-based human rights lawyer, had in 2014 taken 10 of the escaped girls to the US to continue their education. He had been raising funds to care for them.

It remains unclear why the government decided to take over the custody of the girls from him.

Mr. Ogebe could not be reached as at the time of this report.


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