Released Nigerian schoolgirls in need of immediate healthcare, activists say

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Nigerian activists say the schoolgirls released by Boko Haram on Wednesday were in need of immediate healthcare.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urged the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “prioritise the well-being of the released Dapchi girls by immediately providing them with adequate medical and mental health services. These include post-rape care and psychosocial support for those who have survived abduction by the Boko Haram terrorist group.”

The organization called on the authorities “to urgently establish a judicial commission of inquiry to conduct a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into allegations of complicity against some members of the military and security forces in the abduction of the girls. Such commission should be completely independent, and have the mandate to find out exactly what transpired, and identify suspected perpetrators.”

“The report and findings of the commission should be made public, and handed over to a judicial authority to pursue possible prosecutions. This is the surest way to end the constant abductions of our girls.”

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The Nigerian government today announced the release of 76 Dapchi girls from the captivity by Boko Haram.

In a statement by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale the organization said, “We welcome the news that many of the girls have now been released. But these girls should not have been abducted in the first place. It’s now absolutely important for Buhari to implement plans to make schools safer for students in the northeast of the country, if his government is to put a stop to constant abductions of Nigerian girls.”

“Never again should Nigerian girls be abducted from their schools. The fact remains that the authorities have failed dismally to protect the girls and Nigerians deserve some answers as to what the government is doing to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”

“When girls leave school, their futures can be irreparably harmed. Protecting our schools against any attacks would align Nigeria with the growing global consensus that schools must be safe places, even during armed conflict. Constant attacks on our schools would undermine the government’s commitment to get more children, especially girls, into school – free from discrimination, in a safe environment where they can learn, grow, and thrive.”

“Attacks on schools not only have impact on the lives of the girls and communities who are directly concerned, they also send a signal to parents and guardians that schools are not safe places for girls. Providing a safe school environment is crucial to making girls remain in school.”

“Education is a powerful tool to ensure that women are aware of their rights and know how to claim them. It gives women more negotiating power in all aspects of their life. It can protect women from harmful practices and other forms of violence. Education is also crucial for women’s participation in economic, social and political life and necessary to break the cycle of discrimination and exclusion.”

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