26 April 2014

Nigeria: No Hope Yet On Abducted Girls - Investigation

Photo: Screenshot
Islamists hold girls kidnapped from schools.

Maiduguri/Bauchi — Several days after Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State visited Chibok, precisely on April 21, no news has since been heard on the remaining students.

Shettima visited Chibok last week amidst tight security, where the parents of the abducted girls told him that over 200 of their daughters were still missing.

This is as former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon, has said that the serious security challenges in Nigeria cannot be perpetrated by ordinary cattle rearers, but by disgruntled elements.

Investigation has shown that the reason for the foot-dragging in search of these female students may not be unconnected with the recent warning threat given by the abductors that both the security operatives and the people of Chibok should stop looking for the kidnapped girls, otherwise they would be killed.

With this development, therefore, the situation has became more worrisome and disturbing not only on the side of the victims' parents, but also on the side of Shettima, who has described the last one week as his most troubling moment since he took over the mantle of leadership in May 2011.

It would be recalled that the Borno State government had earlier closed all the schools in the state in order to avert insurgent attacks.

But in Chibok, the case was difference simply because, the community opposed the idea of government closing the schools in the area, assuring of adequate protection of the school and students.

But, what is more worrisome is that since the abduction of those girls, both the principal of the school and the Commissioner of Education, Borno State, could not ascertain vividly the actual number of female students in GSS, Chibok.

As it is now, there is still conflicting figures on the number of students abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram and the total number of students in the school before the kidnapping saga.

Also, in the same vein, it was learnt that, a weak before the Chibok episode, similar incident would have happened in Dikwa Local Government area of the state, where the sect group went to a school with the intention to kill all the male students and probably kidnap the female ones, but unfortunately to the attackers, no single student was in school as at the time they came, because of security report was earlier given. But still, Boko Haram went ahead and slaughtered some of the teachers in the school.

Observations have shown that, many parents, especially the non-natives, have since relocated their children from Borno State to other safer states because of the unabated insecurity challenges.

Meanwhile, there is confusion among some parents that has children in government secondary Schools as to whether their children will return to school next week following the attack launched by unknown gunmen at Government Girls Secondary Schoool, Yana, in Shira Local Governemnt Area in Bauchi State last week.

It was reported that unknown gunmen attacked GGSS, Yana, on April 22, and destroyed part of the buildings and vehicles, as well as other properties in the state.

Some parents who spoke to Sunday Independent on the issue, expressed fear of sending their children back to school. especially the girls, following the abduction of students in Chibok Governemt Girls Secondary School, Brono State, and the attack on GGSS, Yana.

According to Mrs Elizabeth Ali, a resident of Yelwa Makaranta, a suburb of Bauchi Metropolisis, "I have three children in government school and I am afraid as the school will resume next week Monday, because of the recent incidents. "I want appeal to state government to provide adequate security for our children in school so that they will not be attacked".

Meanwhile, the Bauchi State government has assured that adequate security measures have been put in place to ensure security in all the schools in the state.

State Commissioner for Education, Ibrahim Mohammed Aminu, told Sunday Independent that adequate arrangements had been put in place to ensure security of lives of all students and staff of various schools.

On the evacuation of students from GGSS, Yana, after the attack launched on the school last Sunday, the commissioner said they were evacuated to enable the school authorities carry out renovation work on the building burnt down during the attack.

There was also a rumour of Boko Haram threats to attack Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, and A.D. Rufa'I College for Legal and Islamic Studies, Misau, a situation that causes panic among staff and students of the two institutions.

It was learnt that there a note of threats to attack the two institutions pasted on a wall in the two institutions, as a result of that some students left the schools for fear of the unknown.

Some lecturers and students of the two institutions said they had to leave the school to enable the authority to provide adequate security to the institutions.

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