Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Federal Government says it has begun teaching the rescued Chibok schoolgirls how to speak proper English.
The government has also employed 20 teachers to help the girls with remedial classes.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, said this in Abuja on Tuesday while receiving the recently rescued 82 Chibok schoolgirls.
At least 219 girls were kidnapped in April 2014 from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, where most of them were preparing to sit for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
About 24 were released in 2016 while another 82 were released by the Boko Haram terrorists, who abducted them over three years ago, on May 6, 2017.
After their rescue on May 6, 2017, the 82 girls were kept in a health facility under the supervision of the Department of State Services, where they underwent medical tests and treatment.
While receiving the 82 girls at the National Centre for Women Development, the minister said the 82 girls would be taught English.
Alhassan said the 24 girls, who were released last year, had improved on their spoken English.
The minister stated, “I thank the teachers and vocational trainers for training them. The 24 girls who could not speak good English, can now speak good English and I am sure by the time they handle the new ones (82), they will also speak good English and will be able to pass JAMB, WASSCE and NECO when they go back to school.”
The minister said by September, the rehabilitation of all the girls would have been completed and they would be enrolled in school.
She said since the girls had missed three years of school, they would need to take remedial classes.
Alhassan added, “We are going to keep them till the school year starts in September. Dr. Anne (Okoroafor) said they are both medically and psychologically stable. The therapy will go on for four months till September when they will be enrolled in school. “Therefore, the programme will last from now till September when they would be in school. By then, they would have overcome the trauma.”
A reliable government source told our correspondent that due to the poor academic foundation of the girls, some of them might have to return to junior secondary school.
The minister, who conducted journalists on a tour of the hostel where the girls will reside, said the girls would be taught handcrafts, including sewing and baking.
Alhassan stated that some of the girls had learnt how to bake cakes and some of their products had been sold.
She said the girls would be taught skilled and semi-skilled labour so that they would be able to compete with their peers in the outside world.
The minister denied allegations that the girls were being held against their will, adding that the girls and their parents consented to the arrangements.
The UNFPA’s Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Eugene Kongnyuy, commended the Federal Government for the rescue of the girls, saying the agency would continue to support the Federal Government.
Speaking with our correspondent on the sidelines of the event, Kongnyuy said the United States President, Donald Trump, had cut funding to the agency which had already hurt their ability to help kidnapped women and girls recover after being freed from Boko Haram.
He, however, said some other countries like Canada had increased donations which would help reduce the effect.