Abuja – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls in Boko Haram captivity and reunite them with their families.
The VP stated that the aim was to send a clear message to the rest of the world that such criminal acts of abduction would not be condoned in the country.
Osinbajo stated this when he received a delegation of Girl-Child Rights Advocates from various schools in Abuja, who were led by officials from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Save the Children International and the UNFPA.
The visit was part of the activities to mark Oct. 11, as the International Day of the Girl-child.
“we want to be able to challenge men and women all over the world about this sort of behavior.
“This is one of the reasons we are advocating that this kind of conduct must be met with the greatest possible objection and force.
“It is very important for us that those girls are returned.
“Anyone who has a friend or child or anyone among the girls recognises that girls are more vulnerable than men, especially when they have been abducted by men stronger and older than themselves, and held in captivity for so long.
“We shouldn’t accept it. We should condemn it for the cowardly and wrongful act that it is, and do our best to give succour to the ladies who have suffered this particular injustice.”
The vice president described the abduction of the girls as unfortunate.
“As you know, some of them have been rescued; they have returned and are back home. But there are still some who are still out there, who we are still hoping and working every day to bring back home,” he stated.
According to him, the released Chibok girls are currently studying in a Nigerian university.
“As of today, those who have returned are studying; they have already started foundation courses at the AUN (Abti-American University of Nigeria, Yola) and we are happy to report that they are doing well, and are excited about the new opportunities that they have.
“They are starting their lives anew and afresh with a great deal of enthusiasm. We are hoping and praying that the rest will come back home soon,” he said.
Osinbajo congratulated the Girl Champion, Blessing Akam, who emerged as the Best Female Basic Education Certificate Examination Candidate, with 17 As and one C.
He said “her success demonstrates that there is absolutely no difference in terms of capacity and resourcefulness between a boy child and a girl child; girls are not less intelligent or resourceful than boys.
“Only those who, for some reason or the other, want to deceive themselves would argue at all that there is a difference of any kind, especially in intelligence or capacity between men and women.”
The vice president also met with a delegation from the Family Planning (FP) 2020 Reference Group who paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa.
The delegation, led by the newly appointed Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Natalia Kanem, also had the President of the Global Development Programme of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Chris Elias.
Others were officials from the UNFPA, USAID, DFID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed.
Kanem succeeded the late Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin as head of the UNFPA.
Osinbajo expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to create more awareness on proper family planning in the country as it was crucial to national development.
He further said through its initiatives, the Buhari administration would continue to support the legacy of Osotimehin, who was a strong advocate for public health and the rights of women and girls.
The FP 2020 Reference Group targets that 120 million more women and girls in about 69 countries, including Nigeria, have access to voluntary family planning information, services and contraceptives by 2020.