President Mohammadu Buhari yesterday assured parents of the abducted girls that he won’t rest until the last girl is freed from captivity. He also promised to punish “any agency”, person or group found to have been negligent or culpable in the girls’ abduction.
The President spoke in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, at a meeting with stakeholders to commiserate with them over the abduction of the 110 girls from GGSTC, Dapchi.
He reiterated his commitment to negotiations with the terrorists to release all the girls whether they are from Dapchi or Chibok.
The presidential jet landed at the Maiduguri International Airport at about 11.01 am.
The President was received by Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin, National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno and the Service Chiefs.
Others were the ministers of Education; Youth and Sports, Interior, and Information and Culture, Mr Adamu Adamu, Solomon Dalung, Abdulrahman Dambazau and Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The President, accompanied by top government functionaries, boarded a chopper to Damaturu.
He said at the meeting: “There will be no rest until the last girl, whether from Chibok or Dapchi, is released. The girls and all our students must enjoy unhindered freedom and pursue their legitimate aspirations. The Dapchi and Chibok students are our girls and must enjoy our protection. They must live to achieve their individual ambition to be great women of tomorrow. It is our duty to protect them and we are determined to restore peace to all parts of the country from the west to the east, north to the south.”
The President, who described the abduction as “careless”, stressed: ”It is my hope that any agency, person or group found to have been negligent or culpable in the abduction of the girls will be punished according to the law”.
President Buhari noted the renewed commitment of the Federal Government to exterminate terror and restore peace in all parts of the country, saying his administration had equipped the armed forces enough. “The outcomes have been good,” he added.
He said: “Since the inception of this administration, we have remained resolute in our fight against terrorism and Boko Haram insurgents. Nigerians will readily recall that prior to our coming in 2015, the situation was chaotic, with violent terrorist attacks being the order of the day.
“Terrorists had made life very unbearable for the people in Yobe, Kano, Kaduna, Borno, Niger, and even the FCT, Abuja. Our mosques and churches witnessed daily suicide bomb attacks. Parts of Adamawa and Borno states were helplessly ceded to the terrorists.
“But today, we have so far shown clear determination in tackling terrorism, which is a world -wide phenomenon. We have not only degraded the power and dominance of the criminal elements, our security forces have patriotically exhibited an uncommon zeal in executing their assignment.”
“We explored various strategies including regional and international collaborations, to exterminate terror. We have re-equipped our armed forces, security and intelligence Services. They are empowered with improved welfare and better equipment. The outcomes have been good. Our achievement in maintaining security is such that the international community and even our critics commend our modest efforts in this regard,” the President said.
President Buhari said he had demanded daily briefing from the security agencies on the success and challenges of the rescue team, adding that with the recent release of University of Maiduguri lecturers and others, there was no doubt that the Dapchi girls would be released.
He added: “You may recall that recently, our negotiation efforts led to the release of abducted University of Maiduguri lecturers, some women police personnel, students and even an NYSC member. We, therefore, have no doubt that the Dapchi girls will be rescued or released. I can 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.
“I have ordered a 24-hour brief to me by security agencies on their successes or challenges. While expecting the report of the committee set up to investigate the abduction for implementation, I have asked that appropriate Federal Government authorities be in constant touch with the Yobe State Government and other neighbouring states to ensure a common strategy and line of action.”
He said his administration’s commitment to the rescue of the Dapchi girls “is a clear departure from the insensitivity of the past administration which looked the other way while the Chibok girls were taken away in 2014 and held in captivity for over three years”.
“Due to our commitment, over 100 Chibok girls have been rescued and reunited with their families, sent back to school and empowered with requisite skills,” Buhari said.
Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam praised the efforts of the Federal Government so far in trying to rescue the girls, saying he was pleased with the swift deployment of troops to Dapchi and the realignment of security check points at schools to respond to any threat.
He called for intelligence gathering and better synergy among security operatives to rout out the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents.
The meeting was attended by stakeholders, including traditional rulers. No parent or any other person spoke at the parley, except the Emir of Fika who welcomed the President in his capacity as the Chairman Yobe State Council of Chiefs.
credit: the nation
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