The 106 freed Chibok girls can now return to their parents should they wish, the Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan, said yesterday

According to her, the government will support any of the girls who wish to return home; her parents will be invited to take her home.

“If anyone of them says she wants to go home, we are very pleased to call her parents; it means she has forgotten the trauma and ready to reintegrate.

“They are here of their own free will and they are free to go home any time they want, we are keeping them here on the consent of their parents,” she said.

She spoke when the DSS handed over the recently released 82 girls to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

The minister said the girls will remain under government’s care until September when they would be reintegrated into school.

Alhassan refuted allegations that the girls were being kept against their wish, saying “the government is only trying to ensure that they are well catered for. Nobody is holding them against their will. These girls have gone through a lot and we need to help them to fit back into the society.

“They have missed a lot and we have brought teachers to help them catch up with what they lost while in captivity; but anyone who wishes to go back is free to do so.”

Mrs. Alhassan said the girls will not be returning to their former school in September, but a new one, adding that they will undergo skills acquisition and remedial programmes at the National Council for Women Development hostel where they will be living for now.