File photo used for illustrative purpose only (Image: Reuters)
Lugwa Sanda, one of the more than one hundred Chibok schoolgirls released by Boko Haram in a negotiated deal, three days ago attempted to take her life to protest the Nigerian government’s decision to enroll her and fellow school mates at the Abti Academy, an international secondary school located in Yola, capital of Adamawa State. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar owns the school.
Our correspondent learned that Ms. Sanda drank a copious quantity of Jik, a concentrated liquid stain remover. One source said the schoolgirl suffered significant damage to some bodily organs and is under emergency medical treatment at a hospital belonging to the Department of Security Services (DSS) in Abuja.
According to the source, Ms. Sanda attempted the suicide at the Women Development Center where she and fellow schoolmates had been kept under the custody of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. The source added that the attempted suicide took place at night.
The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, with Ms. Aisha Alhassan as minister, is responsible for coordinating the rehabilitation of the girls. The ministry was tasked with looking for schools where the freed Chibok girls are to continue their education. A source said Ms. Alhassan, who is close to the former Vice President, chose Abti Academy.
However, three sources said some of the Chibok schoolgirls were opposed to going to the school. One of the sources said the girls’ resistance owed to recent attacks in parts of Adamawa State by the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram.
“Many of the girls have expressed fear that they could be abducted for a second time. Yet, they are afraid to go against the decision of the minister to enroll them in Abti Academy,” said the source.
Another source said the minister had selected some of the girls to speak whenever there are questions about their preference, adding that the selected girls regularly speak in favor of going to Yola.
Ms. Sanda was among the first batch of 21 girls freed by Boko Haram in October 2016 after a first round of negotiation between the Nigerian government and the Islamist insurgent group. The Swiss government and the Red Cross facilitated the negotiation. A later negotiation led to the release of 82 more girls earlier this year while three other girls were separately rescued by the military.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had in 2014 granted scholarships to some of the Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity, and the girls have safely graduated. In a similar vein, the Borno State government collaborated with a humanitarian organization, Girl Child Concern, chaired by Mairo Mandara, to secure admission for 42 Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from their abductors on April 14, 2014.
The girls were enrolled at Bethel International Christian Academy in Jos, Plateau State, and Ulul-Albab Science Secondary School in Katsina State for those who are Christians and Muslims, respectively. The Borno State government and Ms. Mandara entered an accord not to disclose the location of the schools until the girls graduated earlier this year.
On April 14, 2014, members of the Islamist group, Boko Haram, struck at midnight and abducted 276 girls who were writing their final year West African School Certificate Examination. 56 of the girls jumped from the truck conveying them into captivity. 219 girls were declared missing, but a handful of them were rescued before the high level negotiation that led to the release of 103 of them in two batches.
The girl is now conscious and admitted into the DSS hospital in Yola.
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