Dapchi girls’ release: A promise fulfilled?

One of the challenges of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is the abduction of 110 girls of GGSTC Dapchi. MUSA M. BUBA writes on how President Buhari fulfilled the promise made to their parents
Since President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration came to power almost three years ago, he promised the electorate to fight insurgency, among other electioneering promises. The government has given the fight against corruption and insurgency, top priority.
A lot have been recorded in terms of money recovered by the administration’s anti-corruption crusade and degrading of the Boko Haram insurgents, of which almost all the local governments that were overran by the insurgents have been recaptured and the Internally Displaced Persons returned.

Release of abducted Chibok girls
About four years ago, the students of Government Girls Secondary School GGSS, Chibok, who were about to write their West African Examination Council WAEC and National Examination Council NECO, final examination were abducted by the insurgents with over 100 of the girls rescued by this administration.

Dark day in Dapchi
February 19, 2018 was another sad and dark day not only for the people of Dapchi in Yobe state but Nigeria as a whole whereby 110 students of Government Girls Technical College Dapchi were abducted.
The federal government had sent four different delegations on sympathy and fact finding missions, apart from the visit by the Governors of Borno and Kano states.

Release of Dapchi girls
There was no official statement issued on how the girls were released, but Blueprint gathered that they were brought back in eight Hilux Vans and dropped about five of the girls at Bumsa and one at Jumbam a distance of 4 and 1 kilometer respectively, before proceeding to Dapchi with the rest.
When the terrorists arrived Dapchi, there were no single security personnel to confront them, nor were they sighted at their locations. They courageously drove in and zoomed off, just as they did on the day they abducted the girls.

Uniting with their families
The girls whose parents reside in Dapchi ran home and ate, waited for instruction that they should all converge on General Hospital, Dapchi. Those that the vans dropped off at the two communities mentioned earlier were also later brought to the hospital for medical check-ups.

Access to the girls
After the girls converged on Dapchi General Hospital, the security personnel who could not be found when the terrorists arrived with the girls suddenly surfaced and denied journalists access to the girls. As usual, some journalists were manhandled by the security personnel.
Only those girls met at Bumsa and Jumbam , spoke to journalists about their experiences, saying they left their destination since Sunday 18th March, and could not reach Dapchi until Wednesday, 21st March, 2018, so it took them three days to reach.

Buhari’s promises
President Buhari whom some say he bowed to pressure, paid a sympathy visit to the state last week in which he interacted with the victims’ parents in Dapchi and promised them release of the girls soon. “We’ll negotiate the unconditional release of the Dapchi School girls and any agency, person or group found to be negligent in the process that led to the abduction of the girls will be punished in accordance with the law”.

Parents’ reactions
Garba M. Yakubu, “I want to thank Allah for His mercy, my daughter Zainab Abubakar, is back she even came home and we ate food together before she was called upon to go to Dapchi General Hospital”.
Hauwa Mohammed, mother of Hadiza said, “Today is the happiest day in my life. The day my daughter was released from the abductors, I know even you journalists are happy too because you played a big role. My daughter told me that they spent three days on the journey before reaching Dapchi.
As for Mrs. Rebecca Sherubu, the mother of the only female Christian abducted girl said, her daughter has not returned on the ground that she refused to convert to Islam.

Number of released girls
The exact number of the returned girls is still sketchy. Though the federal government has said, there were 101 rescued girls, but one of the nursing officer who attended to the girls at Dapchi, said, “so far 104 have returned, the only Christian student among the abducted girls, Leah Sherubu whom was asked to convert to Islam but she refused and the remaining five are those who cannot be accounted for though, other source from the girls said, the five have died, but not killed”.

State of girls’ health
The released girls confirmed to Blueprint that, they were not molested for a single day. They were feeding them regularly with malt drinks.

The president had on visit to Dapchi promised unconditional release of the girls, so there was no report on whether they returned the girls without ransom.
The recent incident has caused fears among parents especially those in the North-east, and if drastic action is not taken, with all the security provided in schools in the state, the enrolment of female students in the state may suffer setbacks.
For the Dapchi schoolgirls’ parents, the release of their daughters is healing balm for their trauma.
All hands must be put on deck to fight insecurity, as the abduction of school girls, or kidnapping have become a big business venture in the country. The most disturbing thing is that, there are pictures showing the youths of the Dapchi cheering the terrorists as they were going back. What does that really mean?

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