Robert Smith Offers Scholarships to Chibok Girls

Robert F. Smith, founding director and president of the Fund II Foundation, has offered to sponsor the education of twenty-four girls from the Chibok community in Nigeria, including twenty-one who were released by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram earlier this year, the News Agency of Nigeria and Forbes report.

According to a spokesperson for Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, the girls will be admitted to the American University of Nigeria in Yola and will have their tuition, room and board, and other related expenses — approximately $5,000 to $11,000 a year per student — paid for by the African-American billionaire. Smith is founder, chair, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. In 2014, Boko Haram militants kidnapped two hundred and seventy-six female high school students from the Government Secondary School in Chibok in Borno State; while some of the girls have escaped or been released, two hundred and nineteen remain in captivity.

"Smith has offered to pay for the education of the twenty-one released through negotiations," said Malam Garba Shehu, senior special assistant on the media to the president, "and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free."

Mfonobong Nsehe. "African-American Billionaire Robert Smith Offers Scholarship to Chibok Girls." Forbes 12/27/2016. "US Billionaire Smith Sponsors Chibok Girls." News Agency of Nigeria 12/27/2016.