While their families will be relieved to have them home, the unfortunate reality is, these girls are political props.
At a time when President Buhari is battling an undisclosed illness, some reports stating that he works only an hour or two each day, this highly publicized release of 82 Chibok girls serves as a patina over a fragile presidency.
Surely, money was used to entice the terrorist group Boku Haram as the primary method for negotiations. Yet, the government will tamp down on any such assertions.
These girls will arrive home with conflicted emotions as many have adjusted to their ‘husbands’. The conditions as a Boku Haram wife are harsh. But Stockholm syndrome is a predictable response after three years of captivity. One wonders if there are trained experts who are familiar enough with the Nigerian culture to be of help for these young women. The transition back to their families and to society will not be easy.
The 82 lives who are serving as television candy for the ailing president deserve to have all the care they need. But in a country like Nigeria, it is doubtful that the necessary support systems will be available for the psychological and emotional recovery after being kidnapped, forced to convert to a backwards interpretation of Islam, sexually assaulted, and left with little choice but to survive.
Without question it is better that more Chibok women are free. But President Buhari could have wrested their freedom when it was for the benefit of the women instead of gaining their release when it benefits him.