Dapchi girls must be rescued


Again, President Muhammadu Buhari, this week in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, said that the missing 101 Dapchi girls would be rescued.
The President spoke during a meeting at the Government House Damaturu attended by top government officials, security and intelligence chiefs, community and religious leaders.
“I have no doubt that the Dapchi girls will be rescued or released. I want to reassure parents, Nigerians and the international community that we will do all that is within our power to make sure that the girls are brought back safely to their families,” he said.
The President recounted recent successes recorded by his administration in rescuing Boko Haram hostages including more than 100 Chibok girls, University of Maiduguri lecturers, some women police personnel, students and an NYSC member.
Expectedly, the President said the federal government is working with the international community, including Nigeria’s immediate neighbours to ensure safe return of the girls.
Still, while the efforts of the administration to free the captured girls must be appreciated, the abduction must be condemned, the nation’s security agents must be probed and efforts must be intensified, especially by the President to get the girls back to their parents and loved ones.
For the raid, which was described as a “well-planned attack,” has shown that the abductors still have the ability, capability and means to stage major attacks, despite the repeated claims by some top security agents.
Eyewitness accounts say a convoy of at least 15 vehicles was recently used to criminally abduct the students of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, while a few lucky ones escaped.
Of course, some reasons may have been responsible for the abduction, one of which was the claim made by Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state that soldiers stationed at strategic checkpoints in Dapchi were redeployed, leaving only uniformed police to protect the town.
But even more worrying is the claim made by some people that the Dapchi attack was masterminded by the Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, whose leadership is said to be recognised by the notorious Islamic State (IS) group.
The implication of this claim, if found to be true, is that the girls’ abductors die-hard and internationally recognised terrorists who will be difficult to deal with.
Yet, even more difficult to fathom is the fact that few lessons have been learned by those in position of authority in the area of Boko Haram attacks and, in particular, the abduction of persons by the notorious group. It is regrettable that the Dapchi abduction happened about four years after some girls were abducted from a girls’ school in Chibok, out of which about 100 are still missing.
Truly, if deep lessons were learned from the Boko Haram saga, the decision to withdraw a battalion of soldiers, as claimed by the governor, would not have been made because it has now been proved to be unwise.
Some people claim, and it’s hard to make counter-claim, that the abduction was carried out to score cheap political goals against the Buhari-led government. It is difficult to fault the claim mainly because the Dapchi invasion, like the Chibok saga that occurred at the twilight of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, happened when the Buhari-led administration has about a year to go.
In spite of that claim, the Dapchi abduction should not be allowed to linger on in the manner that the Chibok schoolgirls’ episode took place without any clue till date. The girls must be rescued without further delay and, thank God, the President realised the need to do so. But, more than that, the government should be more proactive in fighting terrorism in the country.
Of course, the government needs to ensure the release of the captured Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls. States in the North, especially Borno and Yobe, religious and traditional rulers and the elite need to be more security conscious and proactive because the federal government alone cannot fight terrorism in the country.
Above all, as the President said: “There will be no rest till the last girl, whether from Chibok and Dapchi, is released. The girls, like all our citizens, must enjoy unhindered freedom and pursue their legitimate aspirations.”
Again, like the President said, those found to be negligent in their duty, leading to the abductions of our girls, must be punished in accordance with the law as doing so would show that we are truly set to learn from our mistakes and resolved to never leave our daughters to be abducted.

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