Friday, 23 February 2018

Don't Treat Dapchi pupils like Chibok girls - Senate Tells FG

The Senate has warned against treating the attack on Government Girls Technical College, like the case of the Chibok girls. Like the Dapchi attack, Boko Haram terrorists had attacked Government Girls Secondary School , Chibok , Borno State, on April 14, 2014, during which over 200 pupils were abducted . More than half of them have either escaped or been released, while others are still in captivity.

The Thursday warning followed the adoption of a motion at the Senate plenary which was moved by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim ( Yobe East) on the attack. The upper chamber noted that there was a "resurgence of attacks by Boko Haram, "which was linked to payment of ransoms to the terrorist group. Granting the payer of the motion, the lawmakers unanimously resolved to condemn the attack on the school and resurgence of insurgency” and urged the Federal Government to "urgently rescue all the girls and not repeat the Chibok girls experience.

Speaking on the motion, Senator Joshua Lidani stated that the Chibok girls incident should have taught Nigeria a lesson that schools are a major target of the insurgents . He lamented that the Federal Government had continued to pay ransoms to Boko Haram to secure release of captives , thereby empowering the terrorist group. Lidani said, "We have observed of recent that this spate of kidnapping happens whenever Boko Haram members are being severely attacked or are on the run . They devise a means of going to abduct people so that they would negotiate with the Federal Government for ransom.

"It happened with the recent abduction of some University of Maiduguri members of staff . The government negotiated with them (insurgents) and they got money . Even on police officers wives, the Federal Government negotiated and gave them money. "We need to be proactive in this case because the idea of sitting down and negotiating and paying ransom ; we are empowering Boko Haram to continue to do more . This may not be the end of it because if they had abducted these girls, they would demand ransom and if the ransom is paid , they would continue to engage in this (abduction ).”

Lidani urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do more by visiting the scenes and victims of attacks to show empathy. He said, "But the most worrisome aspect is the fact that whenever we are faced with this kind of situation , the nation ought to hear from the President . He ought to say something. In his ruling , Deputy President of the Senate , Ike Ekweremadu , said the Senate was aware that the military and the police “are overstretched in all ramifications at this period of national insecurity.”

He said, "If you are now asking the military and the police to provide security in all the schools , they cannot have the number to do so . There must be another level of policing to complement the Federal Government security infrastructure to be able to secure all parts of Nigeria .”Members of the Senate from Borno State, however , clashed over the level of response to the attacks by the Yobe State Government.

While the Majority Leader , Senator Ahmad Lawan ( Yobe North ), commended the Yobe State Government for its efforts in providing security, Senator Mohammed Hassan (Yobe South ) faulted Lawan, alleging that the government had not shown much concern. Seconding the motion , the Majority Leader described the attack on the school and abduction of the pupils as unfortunate . He said after the similar incident involving the Chibok girls, it was the wish of Nigerians and international community that such incident would not recur.

He said, "I want to at this point commend President Muhammadu Buhari, for immediately taking action by directing the armed forces to move into Yobe and ensuring that Boko Haram does not run away with a single girl from Dapchi. "I want to also commend the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam , for ensuring that parents were comforted by sending officials of the Ministry of Education to go round the families.”Hassan , however , countered Lawan, accusing the Yobe State Government of laxity in responding to successive attacks in the 

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