Buhari’s govt budgets N360 million for rescued Chibok girls to attend Atiku’s university
The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has budgeted N360m for the “specialised education programme” of the Chibok girls rescued by the Federal Government.
This implies that N3.3m was budgeted for each of the rescued 106 schoolgirls.
The information is contained in the 2020 budget proposal which was submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly last Tuesday.
The 106 schoolgirls are currently attending the American University of Nigeria, Yola, founded by former Vice-President and Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in the last election, Atiku Abubakar.
Incidentally, Atiku had said in a tweet in 2014 while contesting the Presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress that his school would provide scholarships for all girls that escaped from Boko Haram captivity.
The N360m budgeted for the education of the Chibok girls constitutes about 9 per cent of the ministry headquarters’ N3.9bn budget for the year 2020.
The ministry also budgeted N60m for the psycho-social support services of internally displaced persons and ex-militants, orphans and vulnerable children.
President Buhari had in 2017 approved the payment of N164.8m for the second semester tuition of the freed 106 Chibok girls attending the university.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had said in a statement in 2017 that although the schoolgirls had been officially handed over to their parents, the Federal Government would continue to be responsible for their school fees up to their graduation from the university.
Shehu said long before the girls were released, the Federal Government had established the ‘Chibok Girls Desk’ in the Ministry of Women Affairs responsible for acting on matters relating to the abducted schoolgirls, and serving as a channel of communication between relevant agencies and the parents and relatives of the abducted girls.
When contacted on the telephone, the Special Assistant on Public Communications and Strategy to Atiku, Mr Phrank Shaibu, said, “In 2014, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar offered 15 scholarships to the Chibok girls, some of whom have graduated. In 2016, American billionaire, Robert Smith, offered 24 of them scholarship and then in 2017, the Federal Government offered scholarship to 106.”