PUNCH: Dapchi abduction: We didn’t withdraw before attack, military faults Yobe gov

The Defence Headquarters, on Saturday, denied that troops withdrew a few days before the abduction of schoolgirls in Dapchi, Yobe State.

It explained that the troops were located just 30 kilometres from the school.

The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, in a text message to one of our correspondents, said there was no truth in the allegation that the military withdrew a few hours to the attack.

Agim said, “There is no truth in the allegation because the military has been in a location that is about 30 kilometres to the school.”

Efforts to get the spokesperson for the Nigeria Police Force, Moshood Jimoh, did not succeed as he neither returned calls to his mobile nor responded to an SMS sent to him.

A national newspaper had reported on Saturday that the Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, said security men withdrew from Dapchi a few hours to the attack.

Gaidam stated this when the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, paid him a visit in Damaturu, the state capital.

The Boko Haram insurgents, who abducted the girls, were reported to have arrived at Dapchi at 7pm on Monday and left at 9pm.

Abduction threatens girlchild education —Senate Leader

Meanwhile, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (Yobe-North), in an interview with Sunday PUNCH said the terrorists must have struck when they saw that security in Dapchi was relaxed.

He expressed concerns that the attack was a setback to girlchild education because many girls would be reluctant to go to school.

Lawan said, “It is a very sad development for us. Of course, the parents will be sad. They will be traumatised by this development like all of us, and the state government is doing everything possible to get across to the parents.

“What happened was not expected. After the Chibok incidence, we thought that we would have taken every measure possible to ensure that there is no recurrence of the abduction of our students, especially girls.

“In a place like Yobe, we need everything possible to encourage girlchild education. And if this kind of thing is happening, the implication is that parents will become reluctant to send their daughters to school.

“The girls may be also be scared to go to school. We really need to catch up in terms of education.”

Also, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe East) called for more time to get the true number of those abducted.

“Honestly, I still don’t have any reliable figure. There are conflicting figures from the left, right and centre. I just hope that in the next one or two days, this will be clarified,” he said.

The lawmaker said he had been relying on his wife, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba Ibrahim, who is one of the three ministers that President Muhammadu Buhari sent to Yobe, for information.

FG plans to beef up security in schools

In the mean time, the Federal Government on Saturday said it planned to improve security system in schools to curb terror attacks.

The Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, listed limited budgetary allocation and the number of schools as problems that must be addressed before such a plan could be actualised.

The minister said, “The problem is that we have many schools spread all over the country and we have a very limited budget for the schools. But we are doing the best we can.

“There are plans to provide better security for the schools. We have a lot of things in the pipeline to do.”

BBOG reaches out to Dapchi parents

Also, the BringBackOurGirls group said it had reached out to the parents of Dapchi schoolgirls and were compiling the list of the missing ones for immediate action.

A leader of the group, Aisha Yesufu, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH said, “Absolutely, there is no way we won’t take up the Dapchi girls’ case.

“It will be recalled that we also put pressure on the case of the abducted University of Maiduguri lecturers and some policewomen until their release was negotiated and rescued. So, absolutely, these Dapchi girls are Nigerians and part of our plan. It is so sad that our government did not learn from the abduction in Chibok in 2014 and the same response is playing out again.

“We need to know how many schools are vulnerable presently and the steps being taken by the government to ensure that no school is further affected.

“The BBOG is in touch with the Dapchi parents and we will get the full list and the pictures so that we can confront the government with verifiable facts. It is very difficult for the military to claim rescue of thousands when there is a verifiable list.”

Girl arrived at school a day before attack

In another development, a girl, Kawu, whose sister, Aisha A-Deri, was one of the abducted pupils, narrated her ordeal to TheCable.

She said the family took Aisha to the school on Sunday and the girl was abducted on Monday.

Aisha is one of the 105 girls said to be abducted by Boko Haram insurgents when they invaded the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, on Monday.

Kawu, the older sister of Aisha, the 13-year-old SS1 pupil of the school, explained what the family was passing through in a Whatsapp message, where she sought help from people to locate her sister.

She stated, “We are having sleepless nights and smiles have been stolen from our faces. The whole family is incomplete without you since your disappearance.

“Ummee, when will you be back, to see that your smiling face, the calmness, your active response to messages and your love for pictures on our phones?”

Kawu’s step-brother, Kachalla A-Deri, in an interview with TheCable, said Aisha would have narrowly missed the incident had she not been taken back to school a day earlier.

“She had been at home for one week because she was ill. The school told her to go and receive treatment at home. It was on that Sunday evening, at about 6pm, that we took her back to school, and the attack took place on Monday evening,” he said

He said many of the girls, who escaped, ran into bushes, hid in tree trunks, adding that some ran into trucks that belonged to the insurgents.
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