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Long walk to victory as 106 kidnapped
Nigerian Chibok girls go back to school

By Olatunji Saliu ABUJA (Xinhua) -- For Hauwa Takai, the dream of becoming a lawyer is almost coming true. She hopes to study law, her childhood dream in a university in Nigeria soon.

Preparing to go back to school, starting with a pre-degree program specially organized for them in a university in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Adamawa, the 17-year-old Takai, together with 105 other girls abducted more than three years ago by terror group Boko Haram in Chibok Town of Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno, had a long walk to victory.

Considered lucky following their release several months ago by their abductors, the girls, whose experience can be metaphorically likened to that of a person who fell into a lions’ den and returned alive, were offered university scholarships by the Nigerian government.

Later this month, they will be back to school after undergoing a full rehabilitation by the government.

“I am so delighted, I’ll be back to school. I want to become great in life, putting behind me the bitter experience I’ve had,” Takai told Xinhua in an interview.

Takai and the 105 other girls were among 276 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram while writing their high school final exams at the Government Secondary School in Chibok on the night of April 14, 2014.

Fifty-seven managed to escape soon afterward, leaving behind 219.

On Oct. 13, 2016, some 21 of the girls were released by their abductors following a fruitful negotiation with the Nigerian government.

Last May, 82 other girls were released following further negotiation.

Altogether, 106 girls were admitted to a government’s rehabilitation facility in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, as two other girls were rescued and one escaped from the kidnappers’ den.

While in therapy, the girls were prepared to return to school.

At the rehabilitation center, the girls received ICT training and learned some livelihood skills, including catering and sewing.

Each of the girls was allowed to learn two vocational skills at the rehabilitation center. They also learned the English Language, Mathematics, Civic Education, Agricultural Science, and Biology—five higher middle school subjects.

They were divided into about five classrooms, where 20 teachers were hired to teach them the various aforementioned subjects.

Between two to four girls occupied a room in the hostel provided for them. Two in-house doctors and nurses saw to the girls’ medical needs while in rehab.

At a ceremony held in Abuja by the government to celebrate the girls’ victory as they set forth for school, the young girls had the opportunity to wine and dine again with their respective families whom they had obviously missed.

One of their teachers, Felix Biya, told Xinhua most of the girls had regained their self-confidence and were now in “very stable condition.”

The Nigerian government has said it was still negotiating for the release of the remaining abducted school girls, including other citizens under the Boko Haram captivity.

Calling on the captors to come to the table to negotiate the release of those in captivity, Aisha Alhassan, minister of women affairs and social development, said the government has never relented in the negotiation.

“And I want to assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she added.

At the send-forth ceremony organized for them, the Chibok girls danced and sang songs of victory as they hope for the safe return of the remaining 113 girls still in Boko Haram’s captivity.

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