Security agents searching for the 110 abducted Dapchi schoolgirls got a clue yesterday.
A member of the House of Representatives said the girls were still within Yobe State.
Rep Goni Bukar, representing Bursari/Yunusari/Gaidam Federal Constituency, told The Nation in Damaturu, the state capital, that the girls are in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government.
“The girls are within Yobe. We have an idea that they are in Bulabulin, Yunusari Local Government. The military is aware that Boko Haram has been in that place for over four years. They live in that place like their own city,” Bukar said.
Speaking on the efforts of the military in the search for the girls, Bukar said: “I cannot blame the military because I am speaking with those that are carrying out the operation. We have been speaking and they are telling me everything that they are doing; so, I cannot say I will blame anybody in the military. They are doing everything but I think they need to improve in their search so as to rescue those girls.
“This issue is beyond the military that we have in Yobe … It is not the issue of sending 10 policemen or 20 soldiers. It is a matter of commitment. That is what we need. If they like, let them give me the uniform and I will wear it and go and show them the place. Even the day of the incident, the chairman, member, House of Assembly and I went to Gumsa because we had information that three of the girls died along the way and they were thrown away but it was wrong information.”
The Defence Headquarters could not be reached for comment last night.
The Forum of parents of the missing girls is planning to stage a grand occupation of Damaturu , the Yobe State capital, to press the government to intensify efforts in rescuing their daughters, but are being financially constrained.
Manzo said: “We are going ahead with our plan to come to Damaturu despite our financial difficulties. We need to mobilise people to carry out our plan to visit Damaturu. But so far, all the monies we have gathered as a group is going into the prayers that we are organizing for the safe return of our daughters.”
There have been prayers for the release of the 110 abducted pupils.
Participants at the ongoing 32nd National Quranic Recitation Competition in Katsina yesterday prayed for the release of the girls.
Dr Sani Abdullahi, Chairman of the Panel of Judges, led the participants and spectators in the prayer before the morning session of the competition.
Abdullahi prayed to Allah to protect the girls and return them to their families unharmed.
He also prayed to the Almighty Allah to end the insurgency in the Northeast, Zamfara and other parts of the country.
‘’Oh Allah, we pray to You to grant us peace in this country and assist these abducted school girls and prevent future occurrence,’’ Abdullahi prayed.
The Dapchi community has mobilised over 300 clerics, who are praying non-stop for the girls’ return.
The clerics, who are drawn from Dapchi and other neigbouring villages, will not stop praying until the return of the girls, Bukar said in Damaturu yesterday.
”We have gathered all the Ulamas in Dapchi into one mosque and gave them every support to start praying to God until all the girls return. Even after the convocation of the university last weekend, I went to Dapchi and met about two to three hundred of them praying for the safe return of the girls,” Bukar said.
The Chairman, Forum of Parents of the missing girls, Alhaji Basir Manzo, also said a large number of clerics had been engaged within Dapchi town and its environs to pray for the girls.
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has also directed Imams to conduct special prayers for Allah’s intervention in the matter.
“Likewise, fervent observance of Adhkar (remembrance of Allah) should also be ventured into by all Muslims, as it is a vital tool for easing fears, tension and uncertainties such as the myriad security challenges bedevilling Nigeria.
“Similarly, supplications in Sujood in all circumstances are also paramount.’’
Manzo said 107 parents of the missing girls were meeting on the development.
He also dispelled rumors that some of the abducted girls had made telephone calls to their parents.
“The rumors that some of the girls have called their parents are all lies. We have verified all the places but it turned out to be lies”, Manzo said.
Yesterday, The JNI also urged the Federal Government to immediately rescue all the girls.
A statement by its Secretary General, Dr Khalid Aliyu, said the circumstances of the abduction raised serious concern about the genuineness of some security agents in the fight against insurgency.
It condemned the buck passing between the police and the military over the abduction, saying it was an indication that something was seriously wrong.
The JNI said: “An example must be set – heads must roll for this negligence. Inquiry is not the only way to go.’’
“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 setting up of an investigative panel,’’ the Muslims umbrella group said.