The Nigerian Government is not telling the truth about the abduction, last month, of over a hundred students of the Government Girls Technical School, Dapchi, Yobe State, a US-based group alleged on Monday.
The group, Justice For Jos, led by Emmanuel Ogebe, Managing Partner of the Washington DC-based US Nigeria Law Group, raised 10 posers in a statement made available to News Express by e-mail. Noting “with grave concern the persistent mishandling of information with regard to this latest mass abduction”, the group stated as follows:
1. It is deeply troubling that over one month after the Dapchi mass abductions, it is now being reported that 111 people were abducted.
This means that throughout the duration of their captivity, the government was not aware of one child who was abducted.
This is all the more worrisome because these were students in a government school and therefore wards of the custodians/state who should have been well documented.
The implication of this is thus that but for the kindness of Boko Haram who disclosed that they had an extra child, one schoolgirl would have fallen through the cracks.
Given these circumstances, the question must be asked if all the missing have truly been accounted for in Dapchi.
2. The government announced the impending release of last hostage Leah Sharibu but then denied they said so. However the denial has proven to be false based on available video proof of the IG’s remarks. This confirms that the government is intentionally lying which damages their credibility in the eyes of the public and concerned parents.
3. The government claims negotiations with Boko Haram led to the release of the Dapchi girls. Was Leah Sharibu not part of the subject of negotiations? If Boko Haram breached a ransom agreement, what mechanisms are in place to ensure full compliance?
It is alarming that the Department of State Security, while briefing the president, said
“The remaining six Dapchi girls are yet to be accounted for, and dialogue on these students is still ongoing.”
However, evidence in the public domain already indicates that five girls died and were buried and Leah Sharibu was held back on account of her faith. Why did the DSS mislead the president on these key facts that have been attested to by the girls and the terrorists themselves?
4. If the government is to be believed, Boko Haram was not paid off but was only reminded that they had an “understanding” not to abduct schoolchildren. That being the case, why was Leah Sharibu not returned by the same token?
5. There apparently haven’t been appropriate parental notifications for the five schoolgirls confirmed to have tragically died in the process of the abduction.
Their causes of death are reported to be suffocation.
However it is also likely that starvation may have also been a factor. The released girls have stated that the terrorists only asked for those who were fasting and provided them food first.
6. Some parents who haven’t seen their daughters were reportedly maltreated by Government officials when they came inquiring.
7. The DSS also stated there “are two additional young primary school pupils, namely Hafsat Haruna, an 11-year-old primary six pupil, and Mala Maina Bukar, 13 years old and also a primary six pupil.”
Again this reveals that the full extent of the abductions remain unknown over 5 weeks later.
The principal reason why our advocacy over abducted school kids is more strident than general population abductions is the decipherable, discernible and documented nature of their circumstances. If primary school pupils were also missing for a month and not known till the captives’ release then the situation in northeast Nigeria is far worse than perceived.
The number of children separated from their parents (including abducted and displaced) is possibly much higher than the 20,000 estimated a couple of years ago.
8. The fact that Boko Haram reportedly apologised for “mistakenly” abducting the Dapchi girls because they didn’t know they were “Muslim” makes mockery of the government’s claim that they had understanding for a moratorium on school abductions. Indeed Boko Haram’s warning to the community for the girls not to go back to school makes this incontrovertible.
9. The government’s claim that there was a complex arrangement to create a humanitarian corridor and temporary ceasefire to allow the return of the girls is confusing. Reports are that many fled the community in fear of Boko Haram’s incursion. This poorly-communicated situation creates an avenue for Trojan-style attacks and ambushes.
10. It is intriguing that the DSS itself complained about miscommunication when it said “some of the utterances of the government functionaries who were not competent to comment on the issues, posed challenges that almost marred the rescue efforts.” It is tragic that nine years into a virulent insurgency, Nigeria’s security apparatchik appear to be in dissonance with regard to interagency communication coordination.
Source News Express. Posted 27/03/2018 1:09:54 PM