US Billionaire to Pay Tuition for Young Women Who Escaped Boko Haram

American billionaire Robert Smith has reportedly offered to pay the college tuition fees of 24 girls from the Chibok community, including the 21 girls who escaped from Boko Haram captivity in October this year.

Malam Garba Shehu, a senior special assistant on media to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhar, announced on Tuesday (Dec 27.) during a media briefing with journalists at the State House in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Shehu said that the girls will be admitted through negotiation at the prestigious American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, with the American billionaire footing the entire bill for the girls’ tuition, accommodation, feeding and other related expenses. It costs anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000 a year to educate a student at the school which is owned by wealthy frontline Nigerian politician and businessman Atiku Abubakar.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses on October 19, 2016 with the 21 Chibok girls who were released by Boko Haram last week, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria. Speaking at the presidential villa in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, Buhari addressed the girls and their families saying ‘we shall redouble efforts to ensure that we fulfil our pledge of bringing the remaining girls back home’. / AFP / Philip OJISUA

“Smith has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free,’’ Shehu added.

Shehu revealed that the Nigerian government is treating the recently released 21 Chibok girls as adoptees of the Federal Government.

“But there is a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls,’’ he added.

Robert Smith is a 54 year-old businessman, who attended good American colleges such as Cornell and Columbia universities.At Cornell, he picked a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and an MBA at Columbia. He lives in Austin, Texas.

According to a short bio written on him by Forbes, he was the son of Ph.D holders and was bussed across town to his school in the early days of desegregation.

“He later convinced Bell Labs when he was in high school to give him an internship typically only available to college upperclassman by calling them weekly for five months.”

Smith quit Goldman Sachs to open his own private equity shop, Vista Equity Partners, in 2000. The company is reportedly worth over $26 billion