Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has
assured that federal government still remains
committed to ensuring the rescue of the abducted
Chibok girls one year after their abduction.
Okonjo Iweala made the pledge on Tuesday at a
meeting with representatives of the Chibok Community
in Abuja on Tuesday on the Safe School Initiative.
The minister was represented by the Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anasthesia
She said that the meeting was part of efforts to let the
community know that the rescue of the girls,
reconstruction of schools and making Chibok safe
remained top priority of the government.
“Today is a day that marks the first anniversary of the
abduction of our brave girls in Chibok; they were
callously taken away from us and family with the aim
of depriving them of having quality education.
“Their absence will create a vacuum in space but they
are in our minds,” she said.
She also expressed hope that the girls would be
Commenting on development on the Safe School
initiative, Okonjo-Iweala said that the project and
search for the girls would continue notwithstanding the
change in government.
She said that the initiative was committed to ensuring
that teachers and students were secure and properly
educated in conducive environments.
“A lot of work has been done in the remodelling of the
school to ensure that it is properly reconstructed.
“We have completed the technical aspect of the work
and the construction plan is ready, in couple of weeks,
we will move to site,” she said
The Chairman of Chibok Area Development Association,
Mr Tsambido Abana, said it was unfortunate that in 365
days the girls had yet to be rescued.
He said that the community welcomed all government
efforts to remodel and reconstruct the school but noted
that the rescue of the girls was more important to the
“We are saying that what we are seeing has fallen
short of the expectations of the community. The
abduction of the girls kept the community devastated.
“We really want to know what government is doing in
this regard; we have been hearing so many stories, we
don’t know which one to take.
“Yes, the reconstruction of the schools but one has to
be alive to go to school,” he said.
Also, the National Secretary of the association, Mr
Battah Ndirpaya, said that there was no training and
school available to ‘out of school’ children in the
Internally Displaced Persons’ camps.
He said that the community appreciated the effort of
the minister but noted that more should be done to
empower the community and build more schools.
On his part, the Director General, National Orientation
Agency (NOA), Mr Mike Omeri, said that the plight of
the community reflected the feelings of all Nigerians.
He said that there was deep national commitment to
efforts aimed at finding the girls and restoring hope for
“This national commitment requires total support and
understanding, we should avoid hearsay and
speculative ambitions and be more focused.
“For me, it is not one year to celebrate; what is required
is total commitment and government has not lost sense
of responsibility,” he said
He said that finding the girls was top government
priority and added that no resource invested in doing it
would be a waste.