Tinubu, Atiku, others welcome Chibok girls’ release

A leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on the release of 21 Chibok school girls.

In a statement issued Thursday, Mr. Tinubu said news of the release came to him as “a delightful relief.”

“I congratulate the families of these young ladies who have endured so much anxiety and pain on account of this horrendous experience,” said Mr. Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State.

“I am also grateful that these budding young stars now have the opportunity to again pursue their dreams and aspirations.

“I know there is road to recovery and readjustment ahead, but I am confident that the support of their families, our communities, and the assistance of our many collaborators at home, and internationally provide the tools required for this.”

Mr. Tinubu said security and ending the Boko Haram insurgency remains atop the agenda of the APC-led federal government.

“This president, I am assured, will not rest on his oars until all the girls in captivity are freed and returned to their families.”

The girls were released by Boko Haram on Thursday after more than 200 of them were abducted from their school hostel in 2014.

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, said via his official twitter handle that he was “incredibly happy at the news.”

“A lesson, hope always wins. Prayers for the release of the remaining #ChibokGirls.”

The 2014 abduction of the girls triggered an international outcry that led to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, a social media movement that later moved offline to organise regular gatherings in Abuja and Lagos.

Of the 58 students who escaped that night in April 2014, 24 are now studying at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, on full scholarships provided by a donor from the US, the institution said in a statement Thursday.

The students, the school said, are placed under a preparatory Foundation program at AUN where they receive specialized tutoring in English and Math.

Last year two of the young women were admitted into the university’s undergraduate programs, having met JAMB requirement, and four more were fully enrolled this year.

“I am thrilled that the young women have been released and hope that after they recover they are able to continue their lives and education in peace,” said AUN President Margee Ensign.

One of the Chibok girls studying to be a medical doctor in the institution said they were “happy beyond words that some of our sisters and friends are now free.”

“We hope and pray that those still held will be given their freedom soon, and that some will join us here so that we can all work to rebuild our home.”

AUN said it does not release the identities of the students for security reasons.

Ms. Ensign commended the Nigerian government for its ongoing efforts to seek the release of the women, and urged authorities to work tirelessly to free those still being held.

“We stand ready to help rebuild the lives of all of these young women and their families.”

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