African-American billionaire Robert Smith, founder of a private equity firm, will fund the education of 24 Nigerian girls from the Chibok, including 21 recently freed from Islamic militant captivity, Forbes reports.

The News Agency of Nigeria said Garba Shehu, a senior media special assistant to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, revealed Smith’s identity to journalists on Tuesday.

Shehu stated that Smith will cover the cost of the girls’ tuition, room and board at the prestigious American University of Nigeria. Costs typically range from $5,000 to $11,000 per year for students at the university.

The insurgent group Boko Haram abducted 276 girls in April 2014 from a boarding school in Chibok, located in northeastern Nigeria. A handful of them have escaped captivity, and the militants released 21 others in October.

Shehu said the Nigerian government is treating the recently released girls as adoptees of the federal government.

Forbes estimates Smith’s net worth at $2.5 billion. The 54-year-old billionaire made his wealth as the founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on software and technology-enabled businesses.

SOURCE: Forbes, News Agency of Nigeria

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