By Donald Ugwu
The Presidency has formally received the 21 Chibok Girls and a 21 month-old baby rescued by the Department of State Service (DSS) on Thursday.
The girls were handed over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, by the Director-General of the DSS, Mr Lawal Daura, at the DSS medical Centre, Abuja.
Osinbajo thanked God for the rescue of the girls and promised that the travails of the Chibok girls abducted about 30 months ago would soon end.
He reminded them that the entire country was hoping to have them back throughout the months they were in captivity.
“We hoped that one day we will see you again and we are very happy to see you back.’’
He assured them that the Federal Government would bring their parents to see them in Abuja.
“Your parents will be coming to join you; we can’t be taking you out here immediately because we want to ensure that you are in very good health.
“I am sure that you are going to be well taken care of; we have already provided very good accommodation for you where you will stay and your parents will come and meet you.
“We are also going to make sure that while you are here we not only take good care of you but see to it that everything that you require going forward, perhaps your education, employment, would be provided.’’
He assured them of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to give them the best, adding that he was excited to hear about their rescue.
“When you were away he (Buhari) kept saying that if this had happened to his own daughter that he wouldn’t know what to do with himself.
“So, we are very excited that you are here and happy that God has preserved your lives and brought you back.
“We know that very soon all will be well and I am sure that when you meet with your parents they will also be very excited and happy to see you.’’
The vice president assured them that the Federal Government had already contacted their parents and assured them that they were in good health.
“We are all looking forward to how you are all going to settle down fast and be taken care of,’’ he said.
He further reminded them of the assurance of the medical doctors to give them the kinds of treatments that they needed.
Osinbajo prayed to God to “replenish, resuscitate and revitalise them’’ and also give them good health and make them more successful and happier in life than they were ever before.
He also prayed that those still held in captivity would be returned to the nation unhurt.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Amina Alhassan, who was at the event translated the vice president’s speech to the girls, and assured them that the medical centre would take good care of them.
The Director Medical Services of the Centre, Dr Ann Okoroafor, said that the girls were brought into the centre at about 1.00 p.m.
Okoroafor said the girls’ ages ranged from 18 years to 22 years and that the centre performed some medical examinations on all of them already.
She said the centre had tried to make the girls to relax and feel at home, adding that they had been provided with all the things they would need such as toiletries and clothing.
“Some of them who were ill, we have already commenced treatment for them; but we are to still do a lot more because it is not just a flash in the pan thing.
“We want to do a lot more as we have support from other agencies’’.
Okoroafor said a consultant psychiatrist from the National Hospital had arrived to assist in the examination and treatment of the rescued girls.
“We want to take them through a process and ensure that during this initial period they come back into the society the way they should.
“We noticed a whole lot of difference from the time we received them and a few moments ago when some of them were laughing and joking with them; that gave them a lot of joy.
“It means that we have created the environment for them to know that people care about them and that is the most important thing we want to do now,’’ she added
According to her beyond showing that Nigerians care about them medically, the society also cares about them to have the best of everything.
“We are happy to have them and so far so good,’’ the doctor noted.
The DSS boss, Daura, had said that the Chibok girls were rescued with the facilitation of the Switz Government and other international organisations with the active support of the Nigerian Army and Air Force.
“We are all grateful that God has made this possible and we are hopeful that this negotiation which brought about the rescue of the 21 girls will continue and hopefully the rest of the girls will be released very soon,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Chairman of the Chibok Community in Abuja, Mr Tsambido Hosea, and the Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr David Atuwo, were at the event.