President Muhammadu Buhari continued his tour of conflict-ridden zones in the country with the visit of Yobe State on Wednesday where he did a comparative analysis of the abduction of female secondary students from their hostels in Chibok and Dapchi in 2014 and 2018 respectively.
Yobe is the state where Boko Haram insurgents abducted 110 female students from their hostels at Government Girls Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi on February 19, 2018.
Buhari has already visited three flash point states of Taraba, Plateau, and Benue thus leaving him with Rivers and Zamfara states
In a statement issued by the presidency on the visit, Buhari was quoted to have said: “The federal government’s response to the unfortunate abduction of the schoolgirls 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.”
He made the remark at the Government House, Damaturu, the Yobe capital, where he met with government officials, security and intelligence chiefs, community and religious leaders, and the parents and families of the abducted girls, during a town hall meeting.
During the meeting, Buhari was said to have assured the parents and families of the abducted Dapchi girls that their daughters will be rescued.
He went on to recount the recent successes recorded by his administration in rescuing Boko Haram hostages, citing the release of more than 100 Chibok girls, University of Maiduguri lecturers, some female police personnel, students and a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member.
On efforts made by the government to ensure the kidnapped girls are freed, the president said Nigeria was partnering with the international community and organizations including neighbouring countries in the rescue effort.
“I have no doubt that the Dapchi girls will be rescued or released. I want to 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.
“Just recently, I reiterated our resolve to negotiate for the unconditional release of the girls.
“This is borne out of this administration’s conviction that doing so is safer and devoid of risk, and will not endanger the lives of our young girls who are in harm’s way.
“There will be no rest till the last girl, whether from Chibok and Dapchi, is released. The girls, like all our citizens, 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 ambitions, to be great women of tomorrow. It is our duty to protect them,” said Buhari.
However, he disclosed that an investigation committee had been set up with the hope that any agency or persons found to have contributed to the slip that led to the kidnap of the girls would be punished.
“The federal government has set up a 12-member Committee to unravel the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the students. The membership of the Committee was drawn from among security agencies and local residents. 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 in accordance with the law,” he said.