What’s Next for the Rescued Chibok Girls?

The abductees face long-term rehab in government custody

Nigeria’s recently rescued Chibok girls have begun a rehabilitation process away from home that could last between nine and 12 months, Nigeria’s health ministry and other aid groups confirmed. The process has previously received criticism as another lengthy detention for the girls.

Government officials on Saturday secured the release of 82 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists three years ago in exchange for some detained militants. The girls on Sunday visited the presidential villa and Monday met with Health Minister Isaac Adewole.

Boade Akinola, the federal ministry of health spokeswoman, said the federal government donated drugs and other necessary items to a clinic where the girls are receiving care.

Eugene Kongnyuy, the deputy representative of the United Nation’s Population Fund in Nigeria, said the government handed over the girls to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and the UN agency.

“An emergency team of psychosocial counselors and health professionals have been deployed to assist with the profiling of the girls,” the UN agency said in a statement. “The program is tailor-made to meet each girl’s peculiar needs of counseling to help overcome the trauma endured after being held under captivity for more than three years.”

Kongnyuy said the rehabilitation process, which includes psychosocial counseling, would last between nine months to a year. The girls also have the option either to continue their education by preparing for the national high school exam or begin a skill acquisition session.

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Onize Ohikere