The Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan, on Tuesday, said the 106 freed Chibok girls can now return to their parents if they wish.
According to her, the government will support any of the girls who wishes to return home and her parents will be invited to take her home.
“If anyone of them says she wants to go home, we are very pleased to call her parents; it means she has forgotten the trauma and ready to reintegrate.
“They are here of their own free will and they are free to go home any time they want, we are keeping them here on the consent of their parents,” she said.
She spoke when the DSS handed over the recently-released 82 girls to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
The minister said the girls would remain under government’s care until September when they would be reintegrated into school.
Alhassan refuted allegations that the girls were being kept against their wish, saying “the government is only trying to ensure that they are well catered for. Nobody is holding them against their will. These girls have gone through a lot and we need to help them to fit back into the society.
“They have missed a lot and we have brought teachers to help them catch up with what they lost while in captivity; but anyone who wishes to go back is free to do so.”
Mrs. Alhassan said the girls would not be returning to their former school in September, but a new one, adding that they would undergo skills acquisition and remedial programmes at the National Council for Women Development Hostel where they will be living for now.
“The programme will last till September when the school year will begin, and the girls will be enrolled in other schools.
“The decision to enrol them in another school is strategic; we want them to forever forget the trauma they have experienced,” she said.
The minister added that the ministry had engaged another doctor and two nurses to continue providing medical attention to the girls while at the centre.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by his Chief Personal Physician, Dr. Nicholas Audifferen, promised that the Federal Government remains committed to their well-being.
Osinbajo said the Buhari administration will do everything possible to ensure that the girls were rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
“It is the role of government to ensure that you are safe and properly cared for,” he said.
The Director of Medical Services, DSS, Dr. Anne Okorafor said the girls are medically, psychologically and physically fit.
“All the investigation required has been done and we have treated the girls except for a few of them who require additional follow up treatment.”