Where are the Men in the Family Planning Discourse? – #NaijaMen4FP

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From inception, family planning interventions and responsibility for the uptake of family planning commodities has pre-dominantly been targeted at women. This seems logical, as women are the end users of most family planning commodities. Yet, men are often the primary decision makers that have an influence on when (or whether) women access family planning services or commodities. So, what would happen if family planning interventions and discussions targeted men just as much as they did women?  How would this affect uptake of family planning services and commodities? More importantly, how would it help Nigeria reach a modern contraceptive rate of 27% among all women by 2020, as the government has pledged?

At the just concluded 2nd THISDAY Healthcare Policy Dialogue, the Nigeria Health Watch press team spoke with Dr. Joe Abah, Country Director, DAI Global. Speaking on the role of men in family planning, he said,

“We live in a patriarchal society where all advice is targeted at women, and men take no responsibility… Men have a vital role in family planning because they have the responsibility to care about the health of their spouses… Men need to first see it as their responsibility… The fact that one party is the one bearing the physical responsibility doesn’t take away the responsibility from the other party to make sure she is in a fit state.”

The first Nigeria Health Watch Forum for 2018 is themed, “The Elephant in the Room – Men as Change Agents in the Family Planning Discourse”. The Forum, a town hall style breakfast meeting, will have four speakers address the role of men in helping Nigeria meet its FP2020 Commitments from their different perspectives.

This will be followed by two panel discussions focusing on the following critical questions:

  • How do we accelerate action to meet Nigeria’s FP 2020 Commitments?
  • How do we engage men to support their partners in seeking FP Services?
  • How do we get men to take responsibility for FP without depending on women?

The speakers and panelists come from a wide range of health care services and specialties, from general practice to community practice. Their work spans from clinical practice, teaching, policy making to management of health services.

Dr. Diene Keita, the UNFPA Country Representative brings a wide breadth of experience having worked across many countries on family planning initiatives. Effiom Nyong Effiom, Country Director for Marie Stopes International Organization Nigeria (MSION), has over 20 years of experience in commercial and social enterprise and expertise in using private sector business models to deliver social benefits.

Dr. Ejike Oji, Chairman, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, is an experienced doctor with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. He has experience in the areas of Non-profit Organizations, Life Coaching, Epidemiology, and Program Evaluation. Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, is currently responsible for initiating policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of health policies on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health as well as Elderly care, Nutrition and Health Promotion.

The panellists are: Dr. Laz Ude Eze, Family Planning Advocate, National Champion for Health; Sa’adatu Hashim, Amira, FOMWAN Kano State Branch; Florida Uzoaru, Founder, Slide Safe; and Rev. Isaac G. Gbaero, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Sabongari, Zaria, Vice-Chairman, Zaria Interfaith for Safe Motherhood/NURHI.

The Health Watch Forum will be moderated by Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Nigeria Health Watch, and CEO, EpiAfric.

Our objective is simple; “To ignite change in the family planning sector by inspiring action through advocacy and innovation”.  We need to ask the tough questions because it is no longer sufficient for the Nigerian government to make declarations, they need to be held to account for outcomes.

For those who have registered to attend the event, we at Nigeria Health Watch would like you to keep three things in mind as you attend: Please download your ticket, ensure that you come early, and come with your questions, ready to learn and network with others working to make the health sector better.

There will be robust conversations both during the health forum and online throughout the day. If you are unable to attend the event, you can watch the event via livestream on our Facebook Page. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter, follow the hashtag #NaijaMen4FP. If you don’t yet, follow Nigeria Health Watch on Twitter @nighealthwatch, as we will live tweet the event.

Join us on April 18th as we explore the critical role that men play in igniting change in Nigeria’s family planning arena. Come hear the voices of #NaijaMen4FP.

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EU supports Albino Foundation with N70m

EU supports Albino Foundation with N70m

Albino Foundation on Monday said it had received 155, 838 euros (about N70 million) from the European Union for baseline survey on the condition of People with Albinism (PWAs) in Nigeria.

Founder of the Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the fund was also to provide policy and legal reform to improve the condition of PWAs.

He said that the money would also be used to pursue production of sun-protection creams for PWAs, using local and natural products.

“Right now, there is over N70 million provided by the EU for a baseline study for the beginning of census of persons with albinism and other issues.

“It is the first of its kind in the world that an organisation is supporting a census of persons with albinism,” Epelle said

He said that the foundation was operating in six states and Abuja, adding that “when we come out of that we expect other organisations or the EU to give us more funds so that we get the number of albinos.

“It is a very important project for us; it is one of the most important projects. So, we are working with the National Population Commission.”

He added that the fund would also be applied in increasing social mechanisms for PWAs and identified services for them, noting that it would advance protection of PWAs’ rights.

 

Epelle, however, stated that the foundation would need between N400 million and N500 million to conduct the national baseline survey of PWAs.

“To do the baseline study is very expensive venture; it is somewhere between N400 million N500 million because of the geographical nature of the country.

“We are still having difficulty in accessing the PWAs in the hinterland, but we are committed to do it. This is the first baseline project ever for PWAs.’’

Epelle disclosed that the foundation would organise a roundtable to review the National Agency for Albinism and Hypo-Pigmentation Bill (2017), adding that it would explore ways for tertiary medical facilities to treat PWAs free.

He said the foundation would engage private and public-sector partnerships for provision of economically-empowering opportunities for members, including provision of grants and products to start business.

He added that the foundation would also embark on primary and secondary schools sensitisation to create environment conducive for children and young persons with albinism. (NAN)

Toyin Saraki, WHO Directors meet on Healthcare in Nigeria

Mrs Toyin Saraki new Health For All Champion

Mrs Toyin Saraki new Health For All Champion

By Ifeanyi Nwoko

In a bid to strengthen health coverage in Nigeria, Mrs Toyin Saraki on Monday met with WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.

The meeting is part of the meeting of the Global Policy Group (GPG), the highest level of internal governance and policy making within WHO.

Mrs Saraki who is a Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the WHO Region Office for Africa (AFRO)

Top on the agenda for discussion was Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria and other issues of strategic importance to the WHO.

L-R Dr Chibi (WHO Rep), Mrs Amy Oyekunle (WBFA CEO), H.E Mrs Toyin Saraki (Founder-President WBFA) and Dr Matshidiso Moeti (WHO Regional Director, for Africa)
L-R Dr Chibi (WHO Rep), Mrs Amy Oyekunle (WBFA CEO), H.E Mrs Toyin Saraki (Founder-President WBFA) and Dr Matshidiso Moeti (WHO Regional Director, for Africa)

Mrs Saraki, who is also the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), commended the introduction of WHO AFRO’s focused curriculum for the professional qualification education of Midwives and Nurses in Africa.

She said that such huge investment in the technical workforce, especially in the nursing and midwifery workforce, was an imperative for achieving UHC.

She commended Dr. Moeti, as the first woman to hold the post of WHO Regional Director and also hailed Dr. Tedros who is the first African to become WHO Director-General.

She commended the duo for breaking new grounds for Africa, saying: “We must push ahead and achieve healthcare for everyone, everywhere.

“As the Founder-Director of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), I work closely with our midwives on the frontline, as part of the global Every Woman Every Child Strategy to end all preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030.

“UNICEF’s recent report “Every Child Alive” reminds us that although there has been tangible progress on maternal and infant mortality rates, there is still much more to be done.

“Five newborn babies die every minute across the world – 2.6 million tragedies every year. Of the ten highest-risk countries, eight are in sub-Saharan Africa. 80% of these deaths are easily preventable – which demonstrates the urgency with which Governments should treat their health systems,” she said.

Mrs Saraki who is the wife of the President of the Nigerian Senate insisted that UHC was a “once-in-a-generation opportunity and effort to change the continent’s future.

She said that all stakeholders must work towards strengthened global health and economic security and achieving the goals of a new era of sustainable development.

”I welcome the leadership shown by the WHO on UHC and I echo their call on all Governments to honour the commitments made to provide healthcare for everyone, everywhere.”

In her remark, the African Region Director of WHO, Dr. Moeti said that the WHO Africa Region is elated to be in partnership with the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.

“We are particularly interested in strengthening midwifery education in Nigeria, as well as working with the WBFA to galvanize efforts across Nigeria to push this amazing country towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage,” she said.

In Somailand, rapists face 20 years jail term

 RapeRape
Somailand Parliament passed a law recommending 20 years in jail for rapists, the first law against rape in a drive to combat gender violence, a senior official said.

The bill, which passed parliament’s upper house, also criminalises other forms of gender violence
such as forced marriage, trafficking for sexual slavery and sexual harassment.

Ayan Mahamoud, Somaliland’s representative in Britain, said the draft law had been awaiting parliamentary approval for years – and that President Musa Abdi’s government, which was elected in November, saw curbing sex
crimes as a priority.

“This really is a historic law for Somaliland. For the first time potential rapists will be scared that they
will be punished and end up in jail for years,” Mahamoud told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from London.

“It also means that survivors can get at last seek redressal and have access to justice, instead of being forced
to marry their rapists to save the so-called family honour.”

The bill was passed by the lower house in January.

Mahamoud said it was expected to be signed into law by Abdi in the coming weeks.

Until now rape was not defined as a crime in Somaliland, a self-declared republic in the Horn of Africa.

That meant perpetrators faced no penalty. Victims’ families were instead paid off or the victim was forced to marry her rapist to avoid public shame.

Women’s groups said they were encouraged that parliament’s more conservative upper house, known as the House of Elders, had approved the bill with 35 out of 50 votes in favour.

“This bill provides both procedural provisions to support managing sexual offences and substantive provisions on
the punishments of the offences,” said a statement from Nagaad, a network of 46 women’s organisations in Somaliland.

However they stressed that the government would need to ensure people knew about the law, and that adequate
resources be provided to ensure law enforcement agencies and the judiciary implemented and enforced it.

Somaliland, which has a population of about four million, declared independence from Somalia in 1991 following a bloody civil war, but is not internationally recognised as a country.

Somalia does not have legislation against sexual violence. (Reuters/NAN)

The Genotype Test Bill: An attempt to curb Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria?

The Genotype Test Bill: An attempt to curb Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria?

Sickle Cell Disease is one of the most prevalent public health issues in Nigeria, which is known to have the greatest number of sickle cell disease patients per country in the world.

The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, “Slightly above 300,000 babies globally are born with severe sickle cell disease. Seventy-five percent of that number, 225,000, are born in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria carries 66% of the burden in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a total of 150,000 babies born with severe sickle cell disease annually. Nigeria also bears 50% of the global burden.” This means that, globally, for every two babies born with the sickle cell disease, one is a Nigerian.

Two Nigerian senators are sponsoring a bill that would make it mandatory for couples to get genotype testing before they can get married, and before new births can be registered. The bill has passed the second reading, and is scheduled for public hearing.

            
Senators Ogembe (at bottom) and Omo-Agege (at up), who sponsored the Compulsory Haemoglobin-Genotype Screening Test Bill

Sponsored by Senator Ahmed Salau Ogembe (Kogi Central) and co-sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central), the bill is titled, “The Compulsory Haemoglobin-Genotype Screening Test” Bill. According to the bill’s sponsors, its objectives are threefold; to establish a clear legislative framework for effective management of sickle cell disease; to avoid human anxieties, pains and deaths associated with the disease and; to improve the lives of citizens who live with it.

Sickle–Cell Disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder that affects the haemoglobin within the red blood cells. It causes recurrent pains and complications that interfere with many aspects of a patient’s life including education, employment and psychological development. It is a life-long illness, meaning that a person with SCD will likely suffer its complications and recurrent pain for life. These effects are more manifest and often more severe when the condition is not properly managed.

Research has shown that only 5% of children born with SCD live past the age of 10 in Nigeria. In parts of the world where care is available for the condition, such as the United States, the life expectancy of a person with SCD is 40 – 60 years. This was not always the case. For instance, in 1973, the life expectancy of a SCD patient in the US was 14 years. What seems to have made the difference in that system is legislation making genotype testing compulsory, as well as SCD management programmes.

Senator Ogembe pointed out at the second reading of the bill that, “Every State in the U.S.A and the District of Columbia require that every baby is tested for SCD as part of their new-born screening program. Ghana and Togo also have screening programs for new-born babies.”

He said the heart of the bill was to address the prevalence of SCD in Nigeria. “This Bill is a direct response to Sickle Cell Disease, a disease that is no respecter of status and position,” he said, adding, “When it comes into a poor home, it worsens their plight; and when it comes into a rich home, aside from depleting their wealth, it wrecks emotional havoc. If we achieve more effective management of SCD by this Bill, then we have played our role well as our people’s representatives.

SENAMI OHIOMOKHARE OF THE JEPHTHAH OHIOMOKHARE SICKLE CELL FOUNDATION AND MRS TAMARA AHMED OGEMBE AT THE LAUNCH OF A CAMPAIGN TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE GENOTYPE TESTING BILL. THE CAMPAIGN IS TITLED “WHAT’S YOUR TYPE?”

He noted that Anambra in 2002 enacted a law mandating intending couples to undergo SCD testing before marriage, but pointed out that there is no uniform law on Sickle Cell Disease in Nigeria. “This bill fills that lacuna,” he said.

According to a Vanguard Nigeria report, in a statement last year to mark Sickle Cell Day, Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano  reportedly said that his government would implement the State’s Sickle Cell Law. The report stated that couples who violate the law “would be denied certain privileges by the state government, adding that involving the churches would ensure strict compliance to the law. The governor said the state government would set up sickle cell clinics in the three senatorial districts of the state with state- of- the- art facilities and explained that people living with sickle cell disorder would be treated free of-charge under a Health Insurance Scheme that would be launched in the state soon.” Anambra State signed its Health Insurance Bill into law in June of this year, and has earmarked N200m for its Health Insurance Scheme.

THE JEPHTHAH OHIOMOKHARE SICKLE CELL FOUNDATION IS RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT THE GENOTYPE TESTING BILL. 

The Jephthah Ohiomokhare Sickle Cell Foundation in Abuja has partnered with Mrs. Tamara Ahmed Ogembe, wife of Senator Ahmed Ogembe, to raise awareness about SCD, and about the Bill. The Foundation was co-founded by Emmanuel and Senami Ohiomokhare, in memory of their first son Jephthah, who was a Sickle Cell Warrior. Jephthah Ohiomokhare passed away this year, at the age of 15. The Foundation and Mrs. Ogembe are currently advocating for young people to be knowledgeable about their genotype under the campaign #WhatsYourType?

Senami Ohiomokhare said the Genotype Test Bill is important because “it is big on prevention, making people go for compulsory testing. We have found out that people do tests and sometimes it comes out false, so the bill also ensures that people do their testing in government owned labs, so that the tests can be verified. The bill will also enforce that children from birth are screened and registered with their genotypes so that government can track children with sickle cell disease and make care and management of SCD available early.”

She said one major concern not addressed by the bill comes from those caring for or living with SCD. “The bill does open up a lot of other issues. There are people already living with SCD and they are more concerned about their current care. Medical personnel only treat them with general knowledge, and sometimes they accuse them of abusing their pain medication or pretending to be in pain. Most doctors are not trained on sickle cell management. We need to ensure that those living with sickle cell disease can access the specialist care they need. This is where hematologists come in. Right now in Abuja we only have one hematologist. We should have at least four in Abuja in secondary and tertiary health institutions.”

Ogembe and Omi-Agege’s Bill has 6 sections. Sections One and Two are on citations and requirements for SCD Testing for intending couples and new born babies. Section Three lists out the responsibility of certain persons, including registrars of marriages, and ministers in licensed places of worship, to advice and counsel intending couples on SCD testing before solemnization of marriage. Section Four is on offences and penalties under the Bill. Section 5 is on the responsibility of some government institutions and professional health bodies to sensitize the public about SCD testing under the Bill. Section 6 is the interpretation section.

The Compulsory Haemoglobin-Genotype Screening Test Bill is hinged on two existing laws in the National Assembly, namely, the Marriage Act and the Births, Deaths e.t.c. (Compulsory Registration) Act.

The bill has passed the second reading, and is slated to go to public hearing after the Senators’ recess.

The man who brokered the deal to release the Chibok girls

Lawyer Zannah Mustapha, mediator for Chibok girls, speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Abuja, Nigeria May 8, 2017.Image copyright REUTERS

In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani profiles the lawyer who brokered the release of 82 women captured by Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

When 57-year-old Zannah Mustapha arrived for the handover of the 82 Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram after three years in captivity, a militant read out the girls’ names from a list.

One by one, the abducted schoolgirls, now women, lined up along the outskirts of a forest near Kumshe town, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Each of them was covered from head to ankle in a dark-coloured hijab.

“I went ahead of the Red Cross. They [the militants] brought the girls to me,” said Mr Mustapha, the lawyer from Borno state in north-east Nigeria.

Mr Mustapha says the girls started singing for joy when they got into Red Cross vehicles

He has been mediating between the government and militants for the release of the Chibok girls and for an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.

In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari told the media that his government was willing to negotiate with “credible” leaders of Boko Haram for the release of the girls.

More than 200 of them were abducted a year earlier from the north-eastern town of Chibok, sparking global outrage.

Previous attempts had failed, with different groups coming forward, each claiming to be the militants in possession of the missing schoolgirls.

It was Mr Mustapha who succeeded in convincing the Nigerian authorities that this particular group should be taken for what they say, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told me.

The freed women will now have to rebuild their lives

“He had dealt with them in the past and they keep to their word,” he said.

Mr Mustapha’s role as a mediator dates back to his founding the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School in 2007, to provide free Islamic-based education to orphans and the poor.

When the Boko Haram insurgency erupted in 2009, the school offered admission to the children of soldiers and government officials killed by the militants, as well as those of militants killed by the state.

The 82 met the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari after they were rescued

Mr Mustapha then sought the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which began providing free meals to the pupils.

He also encouraged parents to form an association which would reach out to other widows and convince them to send their children to his school.

The ICRC soon extended its humanitarian services to the mothers, providing them free food and other items every month.

“This was at a time when the wives of Boko Haram militants were being arrested and their houses demolished, so Boko Haram saw me and the ICRC as neutral parties,” Mr Mustapha said.

During the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency, to intervene in the escalating crisis.

He then set up a group to discuss peace with Boko Haram. Mr Mustapha was included in it because of the relationship he had forged with the families of Boko Haram militants.

After the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria paid a visit to the Future Prowess school in 2012, he arranged for Mr Mustapha to go to Zurich and Geneva to receive formal training as a mediator.

“We were already trying to negotiate peace with Boko Haram before the Chibok girls were kidnapped,” Mr Mustapha said.

The initial negotiation was for a batch of 20 Chibok girls to be released.

But, as a sign of commitment to their relationship, Boko Haram added an extra woman, whom Mr Mustapha said was their gift to him, hence the number 21.

The kidnapping provoked global outrage in 2014 including from Michelle Obama

When they were released in October 2016, she was chosen by Boko Haram to read out the names of the other 20 women from a list.

Mr Mustapha said the 21 women were lined up and asked by Boko Haram militants if they had been raped. They all said they were not.

When a militant approached a woman who was carrying a baby, she said that she was pregnant at the time of her abduction, having got married a few weeks earlier.

The baby girl in her arms, she said, was her husband’s child.

For some reason, Boko Haram, a group that has cultivated a reputation for brutality, wanted it to be known that it was only after the women “agreed” to get married that the militants had sexual relations with them.


Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani:

“I felt that I have done something that is worth saying to the world that I have done this,” Mr Mustapha said.


This process of lining up the women, pointing at each one and asking the same question, was repeated at the beginning of May when 82 more women were released.

One of about seven Boko Haram militants, who accompanied them, went from woman to woman asking: “Throughout the time you were with us, did anyone rape you or touch you?” Mr Mustapha said, adding that each of them replied in the negative.

None of the second batch of 82 captives came with a child.

But one had an amputated limb and was walking with crutches, an injury she sustained, according to what Mr Mustapha was told, during Nigerian military air strikes against Boko Haram.

‘They all ran’

“You are free today,” Mr Mustapha announced to the 82 women after all the names were called out.

“They all smiled,” he said.

He believes that their subdued reaction was as a result of the presence of the militants, all armed with guns, some wearing army camouflage uniforms and boots.

Mr Mustapha then took some photographs with the women. The militants also had their video camera on hand and recorded the event. ICRC vehicles eventually arrived.

“When I told them to go to the cars, they all ran,” Mr Mustapha said. “Immediately they entered the vehicles, they started singing for joy. Some shed tears.”

Mr Mustapha has received a number of accolades for his work with Future Prowess School. He was a finalist for the 2016 Robert Burns humanitarian award, given to those who have “saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole, through self-sacrifice, selfless service, hands-on charitable or volunteer work, or other acts”. He was also given a 2017 Aurora Prize Modern Day Hero award, for those whose “life and actions guarantee the safe existence of others”.

However, he described handing over the 82 freed girls to the Nigerian government as “the highest point in my life”.

“I felt that I have done something that is worth saying to the world that I have done this,” he said.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa

Unmasking Zannah Mustapha and The 82 Freed Chibok Girls

BBC, London:

Zannah Mustapha has been mediating between the government and militants for the release of the Chibok girls and for an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.

In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari told the media that his government was willing to negotiate with “credible” leaders of Boko Haram for the release of the girls.

More than 200 of them were abducted a year earlier from the north-eastern town of Chibok, sparking global outrage.

Previous attempts had failed, with different groups coming forward, each claiming to be the militants in possession of the missing schoolgirls.

It was Mr Mustapha who succeeded in convincing the Nigerian authorities that this particular group should be taken for what they say, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told me.

57-year-old Zannah Mustapha arrived for the handover of the 82 Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram after three years in captivity, a militant read out the girls’ names from a list.

One by one, the abducted schoolgirls, now women, lined up along the outskirts of a forest near Kumshe town, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Each of them was covered from head to ankle in a dark-coloured hijab.

“I went ahead of the Red Cross. The militants brought the girls to me,” said Mr Mustapha, the lawyer from Borno state in north-east Nigeria.

Mr Mustapha’s role as a mediator dates back to his founding the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School in 2007, to provide free Islamic-based education to orphans and the poor.

When the Boko Haram insurgency erupted in 2009, the school offered admission to the children of soldiers and government officials killed by the militants, as well as those of militants killed by the state.

bk1

During the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency, to intervene in the escalating crisis.

He then set up a group to discuss peace with Boko Haram. Mr Mustapha was included in it because of the relationship he had forged with the families of Boko Haram militants.

After the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria paid a visit to the Future Prowess school in 2012, he arranged for Mr Mustapha to go to Zurich and Geneva to receive formal training as a mediator.

“We were already trying to negotiate peace with Boko Haram before the Chibok girls were kidnapped,” Mr Mustapha said.

The initial negotiation was for a batch of 20 Chibok girls to be released.

But, as a sign of commitment to their relationship, Boko Haram added an extra woman, whom Mr Mustapha said was their gift to him, hence the number 21.

Source: NTA

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