That passing the buck is a way of life among Nigeria’s security agencies is playing out again as the Nigerian Army and the Police have traded blame over the abduction of 110 girls from the Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, Dapchi in Yobe State on February 19.
While the army insists that the security of the community was handed over to the police upon certifying that relative peace had been restored, the police authorities have debunked the claim saying there was no time that the military formally handed over the security of Dapchi town to the force.
While justifying the withdrawal of troops from Dapchi, the army refuted claim by Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Geidam, that the withdrawal of troops facilitated the abduction of the schoolgirls.
In a statement issued in Maiduguri, spokesman for Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, described as “unfortunate” and “very far from the truth” the allegation against the military.
“Several communities and local governments that were hitherto under siege of the insurgents have been liberated and the insurgents pushed out.
“While troops continue to trail and decimate the remnants of the insurgents in the hinterlands, the security of the liberated communities and towns fall in the hands of the sister security agencies.
“The recent dislodgement and further decimation of the insurgents from their enclaves in the Sambisa and the Lake Chad Islands are testimonials to the effective operations of troops against the insurgents.
“Additionally, troops are regularly conducting long range patrols, raids and ambushes to canalise and take out fleeing insurgents.
“Given all these efforts, it is very astonishing and shocking that such unfortunate comment and allegation is been touted against the loyal and dedicated troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.
“Contrary to the comments being circulated, troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama following attacks on troops’ location at the – Nigerien border.
“This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town.
“Troops’ redeployment was therefore done in tandem with the exigencies of operation and not as misconstrued,” said Nwachukwu.
Reacting, the commissioner of police in the state, Mr. Sumonu A. Abdulmaliki denied that the army formally handed over Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police Division in the town.
“The attention of the Yobe State Police Command has been drawn to press statement from Headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole subscribing that “Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town”.
“The statement by the military of formal handing over of Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police Division in Dapchi is not correct
“It is not correct and untrue, as there was no time that the military informed the Police of their withdrawal consult or handed over their locations in Dapchi town to the Police.
“The whole of Yobe State is still under Security Emergency which the Police, the Military and other security agencies are battling to ensure lasting peace.
“Members of the public in Yobe State are implored to disregard and discountenance this claim that the Military formally handed the security of Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police as untrue, unfounded and misleading.
“The Yobe State Police Command will continue to cooperate with other security agencies in ensuring safety and protection of lives and property of people of Yobe State,” said Abdulmaliki in a signed statement issued in Damaturu.
On the comment credited to the state governor, Mr. Ibrahim Geidam in which he (Geidam) reportedly blamed the abduction of the students on troops’ withdrawal from Dapchi, Nwachukwu described it as “unfortunate” and “misleading”,
“Although this headquarters will not attempt to join in any blame game, it is very expedient to set the record straight for the benefit of posterity.
“In carrying out its mandate to counter terrorism and insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria, Operation Lafiya Dole has been alive to its responsibilities vis-a-vis the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.
“It is thus obligatory to state that the allegation reportedly attributed to the governor of Yobe State is misleading and misinforming.
“We reiterate our commitment and determination to carrying out our mandate to fight Boko Haram terrorists in the North- East.”
“We also implore members of the public to continue to support us with credible information on the whereabouts of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“We would also like to assure the parents, government and the good people of Yobe State and, indeed, members of the public that we will not rest on our oars in the search and rescue of the abducted schoolgirls and any other persons held captive by the terrorists,” he added.