The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Thursday lambasted the Federal Government and security agencies for the handling of the abduction of 110 Dapchi pupils.
The school was attacked on February 19, 2018, while 110 pupils were yet to be accounted for.
The group said the abduction of the girls “is the most potent action to frustrate the girl-child 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,” it added.
The Secretary General of the JNI, Dr Abubakar Khalid-Ailyu, in a statement in Kaduna on Thursday said a serious government would have “by now sanctioned those implicated in the Dapchi girls’ travails.”
The JNI warned that government must not spare anyone found culpable in the abduction of the Dapchi girls.
It kicked against any probe, noting that such always ended up in waste baskets.
The JNI lamented that after four years of the unresolved Chibok girls’ abduction, the country was witnessing “yet another unfortunate and avoidable abduction of Dapchi girls.”
It blamed the lapses on the government and security operatives, saying, “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.”
The group wondered why the abduction happened months before the 2019 general elections, saying it was a replica of the Chibok girls’ abduction of 2014.
The group said, “Are there orchestrated plans somewhere to make a case for more security votes?”
Dapchi schools remain closed 11 days after
Schools in Dapchi, in the Bursari Local Government Area of Yobe State, have remained shut 11 days after pupils of Government Girls Science and Technical College were attacked by Boko Haram insurgents.
The Secretary General of ‘Dapchi Abducted Schoolgirls’ Parents,’ a body created by parents of the missing girls, Mallam Bukar Kachalla, conducted one of our correspondents round the empty schools in Dapchi, saying the schools were shut on the directive of the state government.
The heavy presence of army personnel in the town was said to have done little to make the government open the schools.
The closure was said to have also affected private schools in the town.
Kachalla said the primary concern of the parents was for the return of the girls.
“Our prayers are for the girls to be brought back to us safely. We are calling on the Federal Government and the international community to assist in the rescue of the girls.
“Parents are traumatised; so the government must act fast to help these distressed parents.
“We don’t know the condition of the girls; we don’t know whether they are eating or not. As parents, we are deeply worried,” he said.
Efforts to get the Yobe State Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Mohammed Lamin, for comment on the closure of all the schools in Dapchi failed as his phone was switched off.
PDP hails Reps’ probe of Dapchi abduction
The Peoples Democratic Party has commended the House of Representatives for “its swift response to the PDP’s appeal to open an independent investigation into the abduction of the 110 Dapchi schoolgirls.
The party said the action of the House in setting up an ad hoc committee to investigate the abduction underscored the legislators’ consensus for a non-aligned inquest, particularly against the backdrop of speculations of conspiracy theory, conflicting reports and disagreement among government officials and agencies on the matter.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Thursday said the party took cognisance of the fact that the House of Representatives, in approving the motion by Mr. Goni Lawan from Yobe State, shared the apprehensions that there could have been a deliberate design to hide the facts of the matter, which underpins the demand by Nigerians to know the truth.
Ologbondiyan urged the House of Representatives not to lose sight of the submission from Lawan, which he claimed collaborated the claims by the Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, that the abduction was preceded by the withdrawal of troops guarding the area.
He said, “Nigerians are eagerly looking up to the National Assembly for credible findings.
“This is more so as Nigerians have lost faith in the investigative committee set up by the Federal Government on this matter as reports from various other committees set up by this administration on important national issues have never been implemented by the government.”
Ologbondiyan appealed to the lawmakers, to make use of the powers conferred on them by the 1999 Constitution (as amended), to summon and investigate relevant security agencies, cabinet ministers and all other officials whose assignments he said, dwelt on the abduction.
He also charged the House to unravel the source of the misleading rescue report which he alleged frustrated immediate actions that “could have led to the rescue of our girls.”
Ensure safe return of abducted girls, NBA, ECWA women tell FG
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, and the women fellowship of the Evangelical Church Winning All have urged the Federal Government to ensure the safe rescue of the schoolgirls.
They stated that the abduction of the girls was painful, adding that all efforts should be made to rescue them.
While Mahmoud spoke during the NBA National Executive Committee meeting in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Thursday, the South-West Leader, ECWA Women wing, Mrs. Florence Ibilola, spoke during a prayer for the release of the girls on the sidelines of a media briefing on the 75th anniversary conference of ECWA women fellowship.
Mahmoud said the abduction of the Dapchi girls was painful considering that some pupils of the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, were also abducted.
He said, “The country has continued to face significant challenges in the area of security. We have witnessed the terrible event in Taraba, Benue and several other states that have led to loss of hundreds of lives and property arising from heightened conflict between herdsmen and farmers.
“In Zamfara, we witnessed heightened banditry which is inexplicable in a modern state.
“NBA condemns these killings and calls on the FG to do address these security challenges.
“This dastardly act of the kidnap (of Dapchi schoolgirls) by terrorists has great impact on national security and the girl- child education.
“NBA wishes to condemn the abduction of these girls and call on FG to secure the safe return of these children to their parents and their communities. We further call on the government to review the security of all schools.
“This event in Dapchi represents one of the greatest failures of the Nigerian state; the failure to guarantee safe learning environment to its most vulnerable segment of its population.
“We urge the government to do whatever is necessary, including seeking appropriate international assistance, to secure the release of these girls and to reunite them with their families.”
Ibilola, who with other women of ECWA prayed for the safe rescue or release of all abducted people and other national challenges, charged the Federal Government to show more commitment towards the rescue of the pupils.
She said, “As we continue to pray for these girls and for the country at large, we are appealing to the Federal Government to do something about these girls. We pray that very soon, they will be returned to their homes.”
Residents hold prayer for schoolgirls
The people of Fika in Yobe State say they will hold special prayer sessions for the safe return of the Dapchi schoolgirls on Friday (today).
In a statement on Thursday by the community, the prayer was slated to commence on Friday March 2, 2018.
The statement read in part, “Concerned about the attack on Dapchi town which resulted in the abduction of innocent 110 pupils of Government Science Technical College, the Emirate has urged all imams, mallams, worshippers and mosques to commence rigorous prayers for the safe return of the abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls.
“The prayers would commence tomorrow Friday, 2nd March, 2018 immediately after Juma’at prayers at Fika Emirate Central Mosque in Potiskum town.
“May Allah answer our prayers and return our Dapchi schoolgirls healthy.”
Parents lament failure to secure girls’ release
Salisu Husseini, the father of Hauwa Salisu, a 14-year-old SS1pupils who was among those abducted, lamented the continued stay of the pupil and other girls with Boko Haram insurgent, adding that his family members had been having sleepless nights.
“My wife has been crying and the whole thing is making her to lose focus; she is becoming forgetful of late. The family is looking up to me for credible information about the release of the girl, which is not forthcoming.
“We are praying and trusting Allah to come to our aid; but even at that, there is no information. The incident is like a nightmare,” he said.
Other parents, who spoke to one of our correspondents, urged the Federal Government to do everything humanly possible to secure the release of the girls.
“What we want is the release of our daughters. Our concern is not about the endless delegations visiting our community on a daily basis. Our concern is the rescue of our girls; that is only then that we will be satisfied,” one of the parents, Hajiya Aisha Umar.
Military seeks information, cooperation
The military on Thursday sought the cooperation of the media and residents, as well information that could lead to the recovery of the abducted girls.
The appeal came after a meeting on “strategic plan to rescue the 110 abducted Dapchi schoolgirls.’’
At the meeting were Service Chiefs, who reportedly sat with the leadership of the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, Operation Lafiya Dole.
The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, said the Service Chiefs came to review the ongoing military operations, particularly the operation to get back the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls.
Agim said, “The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has solicited the cooperation of the media and other stakeholders in the ongoing operation to rescue the abducted girls.
“The COAS has asked for maturity from the media, so that we don’t speculate.
“For instance, there are some speculations that the military employed the services of fishermen and farmers.
“These speculations can jeopardise the operations and endanger the lives of the abducted schoolgirls, as well as all those involved in the operations.
“While the military is soliciting useful information from the general public, it has not singled out fishermen and farmers for this assistance to rescue the abducted girls, who are between the ages of 11 and 19.
“Rather, the military is asking that anybody who has useful information to come forward. What we will be doing henceforth is to limit the way we publicised strategies used.
“We will communicate the successes of the rescue operations, rather than talk about strategies.”