Hussainu Abdu, Country Director for Plan International Nigeria has responded to news that the majority of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped by militants in north-east Nigeria have been released.
110 schoolgirls were reportedly kidnapped in the town of Dapchi in Nigeria’s north-eastern Yobe state on 19 February.
“We are relieved to hear that so many Dapchi school girls have been released and reunited with their families. But our heart goes out to the families of girls who were tragically killed by their kidnappers.
“We are also calling for the immediate release of those still held captive."
Released girls must be rehabilitated and protected
It is vital that the authorities now take care of these girls through adequate rehabilitation and protection.
According to media reports, 101 of the girls were returned to the town in the early hours of 21 March.
At least five girls reportedly died during their kidnapping, and a girl remains captive.
“Without a doubt, the Nigerian authorities’ prompt action has helped to save lives. We know that girls who return to their communities after escaping capture often face stigma and exclusion. So it is vital that the authorities now take care of these girls through adequate rehabilitation and protection."
Girls have the right to learn without fear
“Every child has a right to safe education to secure a better future. Girls who are kidnapped are subject to unspeakable abuse including forced marriage, sexual violence and slavery. That is why we are calling on the Nigerian authorities to ensure every school is made safe and secure for students, especially girls, so they can learn without fear and look towards a brighter future.”
Hussaini Abdu and other Plan International experts in Nigeria are available for interviews.