Dapchi schoolgirls: FG not serious about rescue –Islamic group
The umbrella organisation of all Muslims in the North, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has criticized the Federal Government under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari for the handling of the abducted 110 girls from Government Girls’ Science Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State on Monday, February 19. JNI, in a statement issued in Kaduna, yesterday, said instead of tackling the main issues and punishing those whose lapses were responsible for the abduction, the Federal Government was setting up a committee that the outcome of which would not make any impact.
The statement, signed by Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, Secretary–General of JNI, said: “JNI received with absolute shock and amazement the most unfortunate story of the abduction of school girls at the Government Girls’ Science Technical Secondary School, Dapchi. “There must be blame for this, and no one found culpable in this gross negligence should be spared.
In fact, a serious government would have, by now, put in jail and suspended all negligent security and political chiefs who could and should have protected these innocent children, rather than the rigmarole of setting up of an investigative panel; which most often than not, such panels/ committees’ report ended up on shelves, covered in dust. “Since the unfortunate occurrence of the abduction, JNI has been following with keen interest events as they unfold in Dapchi.
And suffice to state that a reasonable person’s analysis is to conclude that there is apparent lack of synergy between security operatives in Yobe State, or there is active connivance with the insurgents, especially if reports of media altercations between the Army and the Police are anything to go by.” JNI asked: “Is the Chibok girls debacle so long ago in our memory that we have not learnt anything from it? “Furthermore, is this abduction not a near confirmation of the rumour making the rounds that security operatives do not want the war on Boko Haram to end because of the pecuniary benefits they derive therefrom?
“Again, why did the Dapchi girls’ abduction happen months before the 2019 general elections, just like the Chibok girls’ abduction of 2014? Are there orchestrated plans somewhere to make a case for more security votes? “If there is worse outcome than the abduction itself, it is the fact that this is the most potent action to frustrate girl-child education in Northern Nigeria, despite the many enrolment campaign efforts for female education. No parent now is comfortable, especially in the North-East to allow his daughter to go to such callously unprotected schools. And the North is the loser!
Therefore, this is a wakeup call to the quiescent northern governors.” The Muslim body expressed shock over the incident. “All of us as parents are still in shock. We must ask: how did the perpetrators gain access to the school? How come they were not prevented or intercepted? Does it mean that when they were coming, no security or informants provided any hint? “Indeed, there is much more than meets the eye in the way this Boko Haram insurgency is now being handled!
This is so because before now, the major concern of the citizens of the BAY states (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe) has been that any time people provided information on suspected insurgents, the informants are hunted down and many killed within the next 24 hours.
“In the light of the above, we call on governments at all levels to do everything possible and, as a matter of urgency, use any means possible to return our Dapchi and Chibok daughters. Enough should be enough! “Government must spare no effort to immediately return all our abducted daughters of Chibok, Dapchi and other places.
And then an example must be set – heads must roll for this negligence. Inquiry is not the only way to go; government at all levels, in collaboration with different security agencies, must rise against the tide of insecurity in whatever guise, through proactive measures and nipping it in the bud, before it becomes blown off,” Aliyu said. JNI called for adequate security in all boarding schools in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
It said: “All female secondary schools in the BAY states should be provided with maximum security. The remaining final year Dapchi students should be encouraged to write their respective WAEC and NECO exams, even if it be through an arrangement, in another environment.”
Meanwhile, it was a mild war of words yesterday as the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, engaged each other over federal government’s handling of the Dapchi, abduction. The two politicians spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Editors’ Plaza, a project of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) in Abuja.
Akpabio, who was chairman of the occasion, apparently drew the first blood when he remarked that Mohammed had been very sober since the latest abduction of schoolgirls in the North-East, adding that his posture and utterances would have been different if the said abduction had taken place under a different regime. The missile was apparently a continuation of the battle for supremacy between the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party. Akpabio, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State is a member of the PDP while Mohammed is a member of the APC.
Akpabio recalled the role Mohammed played during the 2014 abduction of over 200 girls at the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State and how the APC made a political capital out of it. According to Akpabio, whereas the then opposition party made so much noise about the Chibok girls, the minister appeared to have lost his voice on the latest kidnap in Dapchi by the same terrorists. “A man who before 2015 would have had a fantastic caption for the Dapchi girls kidnap. But because of where he is now, all he could do was to shake his head on the television.
“But in those days, he would just say oh, look at what has happened to Chibok girls. I weep for Nigeria, I mourn for bad governance. That was just then, but today, you would just shake your head and say well, there is insecurity all around the world. “You did a fantastic job in the opposition. Now, I am not the one to judge him where he is today. It is the president of Nigeria, his boss that will be the one to give the scorecard at the end of the day.
But if you ask me, I think you are doing a very difficult job well,” Akpabio said. In his own remarks, Mohammed said that comparing the 2014 abduction and the Dapchi incident which took place under the APC government was akin to comparing apple with oranges. “I am happy I came here because if I had not come, I am sure the very tempered, patriotic speech delivered by the Senate Minority Leader, might not have been exactly the same thing.
So, I thank God I came here to checkmate him because as he was making his speech, I kept looking at him, then he would revise a bit. “Honestly, I want to say please, don’t compare apple with oranges. When Chibok happened, it took your government 18 full days to admit that anybody was kidnapped.
This time around, we swung to action within 24 hours. “I want to tell you that as I speak today, I have been to Damaturu and Dapchi twice within one week; the Chief of Air Staff and the National Security Adviser (NSA) have been there; as of yesterday, we deployed over 200 hours of sorties flying over, looking for the girls,” Mohammed said. Also, the PDP has said the decision by National Assembly to probe the abduction of 110 Dapchi schoolgirls was a welcome development. The party said the adhoc committee became necessary because Nigerians have lost faith in the investigative committee set up by the Federal Government on the matter.
“Nigerians are eagerly looking up to the National Assembly for credible findings, particularly following the raging disagreements and blame game among security agencies involved in the provision of security in the area,” Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, said.