The attack on the Government Girls Technical College, in Dapchi, Yobe State, apart from re-opening the unhealed wounds which the abduction of Chibok girls left in the national psyche, has once again dealt a wicked blow to the national effort to promote girl-child education in Nigeria. Most painfully, it is occurring in the most educationally-disadvantaged zone in the country.
The initial Federal Government response to the sad news followed what is now becoming a pattern of denial, misinformation and the ordering of top security officers to relocate to the scene after the damage had been done. Just like the Chibok episode, the initial report was followed by an announcement that the Army had rescued some of the girls.
A day later, the Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, made a U-turn stating: "We have now established that the information (provided by one of the security agencies) we relied on to make the statement was not reliable." This is simply scandalous and those saddled with the responsibility of managing our security may be less than up to the task.
But, in a sobering situation such as this, Nigerians expect professional security agencies to eschew propaganda and blame games and present the truth to the citizenry.
Nigeria has, once again, presented herself before the whole world as a country that is incapable of learning from its experiences. It is a well-known fact that those who fail to learn from their historical experiences are bound to repeat them. There seems to be a worrisome copying of the Chibok tragedy almost to the letter, and one wonders if there is more to this phenomenon than meets the eye. We hope the committee of security experts that President Muhammadu Buhari empanelled will unravel the truth and inform Nigerians.
We are holding the President to his promise of ensuring that the girls, as well as the rest of the Chibok girls, are rescued alive. Buhari had undertaken before Nigerians in his inaugural speech on 29th May 2015 that he would not consider Boko Haram defeated until all the abducted girls have been rescued or accounted for. We still stand by that undertaking.
We must also find out if some evil and unpatriotic elements within the system have been profiting from the anti-terror war, with the way Boko Haram makes a wild resurgence each time the authorities announce its "defeat".
All hands must be on deck to rescue these girls, some of whom are reported to be as young as eleven years old. The current preoccupations with the 2019 elections should be downplayed to enable us recover all missing Chibok and Dapchi girls. Politicians must be reminded that the Chibok girls tragedy was the primary reason for regime change in 2015.