105 girls missing after Dapchi school attack, parents say … compile list, plan meeting with Yobe gov
One hundred and five girls are still missing after Boko Haram terrorist group on Monday attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in Dapchi, Bursari Local Government Area of Yobe State.
The girls were said to have run into the bush after the attack.
But with many girls failing to return home, parents have expressed fears that the girls might have been kidnapped.
Some of the girls’ parents told the Agence France Presse that they had set up a support group after the attack, bringing to memory a similar situation which occurred when the insurgent group kidnapped 214 Chibok schoolgirls on April 14, 2014.
The chairman of the newly created group, Bashir Manzo, said, “Our first step was to compile a comprehensive list of all the missing girls. So far, we have compiled the names of 105.”
Manzo, whose 16-year-old daughter, Fatima, is among the missing, said the schoolgirls’ mothers and fathers would seek a meeting with the Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam.
He said, “We believe he (Gaidam) was misinformed (about the rescue of 48 of the girls). The school authorities from the beginning denied and kept denying that our daughters were taken.
“We will see the governor and seek his help, as well as anyone who matters that can in one way or another assist in ensuring the freedom of our girls.”
I’m sorry, Buhari tells missing schoolgirls’ families, others
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he was sorry that the attack which led to the abduction of the students from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, happened.
He described the incident as a national disaster.
Buhari stated these in a statement made available to journalists by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
He said he shared the pains of the parents whose children and wards were abducted and would spare no effort in ensuring that the students were rescued.
The President said the Federal Government would be sending more troops and surveillance aircraft for a 24-hour surveillance of the area.
He said, “When I received the devastating news of the attack on the school and the fact that the local authorities could not account for all the students, I immediately dispatched a high-level delegation on a fact-finding visit to the town.
“I also instructed the security agencies to deploy in full and not spare any effort to ensure that all the girls are returned safely, and the attackers arrested and made to face justice.
“The entire country stands as one with the girls’ families, the government and the people of Yobe State.
“This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and (we) share your pain. We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members.
“Our government is sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found.”
Hold Buhari’s administration responsible, PDP tells Nigerians
But the Peoples Democratic Party called on Nigerians to hold the Buhari-led administration directly responsible for the abduction of the girls.
It also said that the Presidency must also be held responsible for several other atrocities committed by insurgents against the citizens.
A statement issued by the Spokesperson for the former ruling party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Friday, accused the Presidency of putting Nigerians at risk by allegedly deceiving the people and issuing what he described as false performance indices, suggesting that insurgents had been completely routed.
This, he said, made unsuspecting citizens to trust the government by dropping their guards in the face of real threats and danger.
He said, “Without a doubt, if the incompetent All Progressives Congress-led government had not dished out lies to the people in a bid to score cheap political points for its 2019 re-election bid, more precautionary measures would have been adopted by the affected communities to ensure adequate protection.
“While Nigerians are appalled by the APC’s recourse to false indices in critical sectors, it is , however, to say the least, an inexcusable height of wickedness to give a vulnerable people a false assurance of security when they are actually in danger.
“Furthermore, the PDP decries as iniquitous, the efforts by the APC-controlled federal authorities to suppress information on the abduction, leading to conflicting reports and frustrating of the rescue mission, just because they seek to hide the failures of the Presidency in ensuring the safety of Nigerians, particularly in the North.
“We were shocked that in their proclivity to deceive, the authorities earlier informed Nigerians that some of the girls had been recovered only for the news to turn out to be false.”
Ologbondiyan added that the Federal Government’s team, headed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made no effort to commiserate with the community leaders and parents of the abducted girls.
He also said that the minister shut out the media during the visit, adding that the action further confirmed the ruling party’s insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.
He said that it was more irking that the President would publicly provide a day an asymmetry war would come to an end as if the acts of the insurgency were fought like a conventional warfare.
He also said that it was painful that Nigerians were faced today with a government that had been heavy on propaganda and issuing of false statistics, while playing down on several atrocities committed against the defenceless citizens.
“Under the PDP, Nigerians were never told lies on the true situation of the state of affairs in all sectors, particularly security. The PDP-led government constantly briefed Nigerians and carried all stakeholders along in our concerted effort in securing lives and property in our nation,” he added.
Ologbondiyan asked Nigerians and indeed the world to hold the Presidency and the APC-led Federal Government directly “responsible for the abduction of these defenceless schoolgirls as well as the killings in our country today.”
He said that the PDP stood with the parents of the abducted girls at the moment of their pains and prayed for the speedy return of their children.
He implored the security forces to insulate themselves from the alleged APC propaganda by taking very decisive professional steps to rescue the girls and end the killings in the country.
Attack on Gov’s convoy: Parents allege arrest
In Yobe State, some parents in Dapchi on Friday alleged that there had been a clampdown on them by the police and the state government following the attack on the governor’s convoy on Thursday.
A reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation in Nigeria, Stephanie Hegarty, on Friday said via Twitter that a parent called her from Yobe State that he was in hiding because an order had been issued for his arrest.
Hegarty said the parent expressed fear that the state government might be trying to prevent them from talking to the media. There was an allegation a parent had already been arrested.
We didn’t arrest Dapchi schoolgirls’ parent – Police
But when contacted, the Nigeria Police Force denied arresting any parent of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls for vandalising the convoy of the governor.
The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, said, “No, the police did not arrest anybody. It is not true. I have spoken with the Commissioner of Police and he confirmed nothing like that happened.”
Meanwhile, the Media Aide to the governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego, could not be reached on Friday for comment. A text message also sent to his line had yet to be replied to as of press time.
BBOG leaders lambast FG, demand action
Leaders of the Bring Back Our Girls group, Dr Oby Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu, on Friday, took a swipe at the Federal Government over its handling of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls.
They noted that the government existed first to protect lives and property.
This is just as the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, reiterated that troops had been deployed in the Dapchi area of Yobe State to assist in the rescue mission of the abducted schoolgirls.
Ezekwesili in a tweet on Friday, said, “Devastated, exhausted and yet, we shall stand and fight for justice of the rescue of our Dapchi girls by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. Not even our remaining 112 Chibok schoolgirls would imagine any more daughters of Nigeria would be failed again.
“That the tragedy of the Dapchi girls and its handling entirely repeat the pattern of the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction nearly four years ago (under a different Federal Government ) shows how our leaders seldom learn any lessons from failure.”
Also, Yesufu, on her Twitter page, said, “Reading this (abduction of Yobe schoolgirls) is just painful. While terrorists were regrouping, our military was busy handing over a flag to the President and declaring technical defeat. Find the girls. Bring them to their parents and that’s all. They don’t want publicity. They want their children.
“For some, Dapchi (abduction) is an opportunity to score political points; to be able to say the government is working or not working. Can you stop for a moment and imagine when you were in secondary school and you were abducted? What would have mattered most to you and your family?
“How can Lai Mohammed be talking about the government’s image when people’s daughters have been abducted and only God knows what they are going through? A government that fails in its responsibility to protect the lives and properties of its citizens is no longer fit to be called a government. February 25 of this year would be the fourth year memorial of Buni Yadi boys slaughtered by the Boko Haram in their school in Yobe State. We learnt nothing?”
Troops intensifying on rescue, says DHQ
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig -Gen. John Agim, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that Maj. -Gen. Benjamin Ahanotu, the General Officer Commanding of 3 Division, Jos, Plateau State, had also visited the Dapchi area for an assessment.
Agim said, “The military would continue with their rescue operation. The troops are there. Yesterday (Thursday), the GOC was there and whatever needs to be done is being done in the area.”
US condemns attack on Yobe schoolgirls
Meanwhile, the United States has condemned the attack on the Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi.
It also said it would continue to support the Federal Government’s efforts to counter the terrorist group.
While briefing journalists on Thursday, spokesperson for the US Department of State, Ms Heather Nauert, said, “We are still trying to get all the details about that [Boko Haram attack], but we want to mention that we condemn in the strongest possible terms the terror attack on a school earlier this week in northeastern Nigeria.
“The choice of targets, including schools, markets and places of worship, reflect the brutality of terrorist organisations. The victims of the attacks were girls who were simply seeking an education. We continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to counter the terror group.”
She added, “We also support Nigeria’s efforts to enable more than two million (persons) displaced in the Lake Chad region to return home safely.
“The United States continues to provide humanitarian assistance to those who were affected by the violence.”
On his part, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, said that an attack on a Nigerian child was an attack on the future of the country.
Ortom stated this in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase .
He said that the insecurity in any part of the country should be the concern of every Nigerian and called for the provision of timely and useful information to security agencies to enable them to live up to their expectations.
Similarly, the Coalition of Civil Society Network of Lake Chad Basin has described the recent abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls as a wake-up call on the Federal Government and the military to intensify security in the area.
The Chairman, North-East Civic Society Forum, Ambassador Shehu Ahmed, who spoke on behalf of the CSOs under the aegis of CCSNLCB, during its inaugural general assembly in Abuja on Friday, stated, “It is the role and responsibility of the government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens.
“If this is not done, then there is a gap; so we want the government to improve the level of security.”
Ahmed, who was quoted in a report by the News Agency of Nigeria, said, “It is no longer news; two days ago, in one of the states within our region, over 90 girls were abducted.
“The government said that they had been freed but then we realised that they had not been freed.
“Let them stop playing games with people’s lives; let the government give the right information and let us be sincere in our approach.
“The role of every government is to protect the interest, lives and properties of the affected population.
“It is better for the government to go back to the drawing board and ensure that security is intensified.”
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