From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state on wednesday urged assigned a Kaduna-based Inter-Faith Mediation Centre to search and recommend schools for the 57 Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from the custody of Boko Haram insurgents.
Governor Shettima told officials of the centre, who were in Maiduguri with some medical experts to commence counselling of the 57 girls, search and recommend good schools outside the state to complete their studies.
Shettima said his administration was determined to do everything within its power to give quality education to the traumatised girls.
According to him, the state government has earmarked N100 million for the education of the Chibok schoolgirls, adding that he was optimistic those still being held will be released.
“Our hearts go to all the rescued girls and to those still captive of the so-called Boko Haram. We are willing to do everything within our power to give them including those still in captive. We are willing to rehabilitate all of them to bring them out of their trauma,” the governor said in tears.
He said he decided to assign the centre the responsibility of chosen schools for the girls since it will be engaged in the counselling exercise, after which it would identify the capacities to make informed decision appropriately to the future of the girls.
Shettima expressed hope that the schoolgirls would come out of their traumatic experience at the end of the exercise.
Leaders of the Inter-Faith Centre, Pastor James Wuye and Imam Mohammed Ashafa, told the governor that the centre was established after a sectarian crisis in North-Central Kaduna state years back.
The centre according to them is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
In their separate remarks, the duo commended the state government for constituting a counselling team made of medical experts and psychologist for the schoolgirls even before the voluntary intervention of the mediation centre.
“We are here not to reinvent what has been done. We have been to other African nations like Chad, Central Africa Republic, and Sudan among others, but we have the urged to replicate same in our country.
“Ours is Psycho-therapy approach, we are to generate data and then follow up the girls’ progress in their education. The medical personnel will also assist in some medical checks in collaboration with the local doctors. We are here to complement your efforts,” Wuye and Ashafa stated.
Chief of Staff to the governor, Alhaji Abu Kyari, explained that the Chibok schoolgirls are divided into three categories namely the 57 escapees, 119 not abducted but fled from the school when the abductors came and the 219 still being held by the insurgents.