NIGERIA: Plans counselling centres for parents, abducted girls

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The federal government has expressed regret that the abduction of the female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, may erode some of the gains made in promoting girl-child education and balancing the gender gap in education in Nigeria.
 
It, however, gave the assurance that it was working assiduously to ensure the safe rescue and return of the girls, while putting adequate security measures in place across schools for the adequate protection of children, to forestall future occurrences.
 
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, at a press briefing yesterday to mark the 2014 Children’s Day in Abuja, also appealed to parents not to relent in their effort to send their girls to school.
 
She disclosed that the ministry alongside its development partners, were working on a comprehensive psychosocial support, trauma management, counselling and empowerment for parents and the girls when they return.
 
“The unfortunate incident should not deter us from our commitment to girl-child education. I wish to assure you again that the government is doing everything possible to ensure the safe release of our innocent school children. We also want to put on record our appreciation on the efforts of the Nigeria Armed Forces as they battle the insurgents and strive to get our girls released,” she said.
Maina appealed to all stakeholders to work with the government for the safe return of the girls.
 
This year’s Children Day was very emotional for Nigerians, she said as “terrorists have taken away our joy with the kidnapping of our girls who are supposed to be celebrating with us.”
 
Maina emphasised that the wellbeing and proper development of children remain vital to the successful human and overall development of Nigeria, and is therefore a matter of concern to all tiers of government.
 
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