Nigeria: Dapchi Girls - Words Said, Not Meant?


Mni — Legitimate criticisms did trail the rather clumsy and conflicting reactions of Yobe state government officials following another criminal abdication of 112 girls of Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi, on Monday, February 19.

It would be recalled that two days after the reported abduction, precisely on Wednesday, the Yobe state government 'confirmed' that the Nigerian Army was able to rescue all the girls, only to make a U-turn in another statement on Thursday a day after. Notwithstanding the hoax, it was nonetheless reassuring later when Yobe government apologized for the misinformation and pledged commitment in making a difference in rescuing the girls.

Of course many compatriots had already drawn parallels between this dispensation and the official cluelessness which characterized the incompetent reaction of Jonathan administration to the dastard abduction of Chibok girls in 2014. However hope of a Federal government with a difference was rekindled when President Muhammed Buhari in a statement declared the Dapchi abduction as "a national disaster" with a presidential apology that it would not be business as usual until the girls returned home. For recollection and emphasis Buhari's statement said, "The entire country stands as one with the girls' families, the government and the people of Yobe State. This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain. We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members."

Yours comradely was impressed by President Buhari's statement because it named the abduction for what it is; NATIONAL DISASTER! The hope is that even if we unacceptably and scandalously failed in prevention, let's at least name it a DISASTER with a view of damning and taming it! But regrettably, so far watching the body languages of the President, governors and legislators who are charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and rescuing the girls, it is self evident we are back again to official words said but not meant! Watching the spectacular pictures of virtually all Nigeria's chief security officers of 22 states, Senate President plus the President at the weekend wedding of the daughter of Kano State governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to her groom, the son of the Oyo State governor, Alhaji Abiola Ajimobi in Kano, Nigeria is certainly not in a National Disaster as declared by the president but in merry making! We are indeed in a national disaster with as many as 100 school girls confirmed abducted in a country in which some scores of Chibok girls are yet to return.

As a matter of fact we are in a national catastrophe if we add almost the daily reported serial killings of citizens in the country. Just three days ago, in a reported surprise attack on 3rd Battalion in Rann headquarters of Kala-Balge the terror group inflicted damage, abducted three aid workers (2 from ICRC clinic team and 1 from UNICEF) in addition to killing a UNICEF doctor, and two workers from the International Organization for Migration. With this orgy of violence and killings Nigeria is virtually in unofficial civil war. This calls for business unusual on the part of those elected and appointed to protect the nation in line with 1999 constitution and their respective oaths of office. Of course don't get me wrong. I felicitate with my two friends, namely Dr Ganduje of Kano and governor Ajimobi of Oyo state Kano on the successful wedding of their children with the best wishes marriage confers on the newly wedded. However even in the best of times, elected leaders are not expected to exhibit their private legitimate indulgences.

All governors and President promised to deliver on good governance and improved common wealth (still in huge deficit!) not private wealth, private weddings of their children. It is a mark of sensitive and accountable statesmanship that at the time of "a National Disaster" for to see , their leaders in collective frenzy efforts at rescuing Dapchi girls. Let 36 governors and the President suspend all frivolities in deference to the national mood and as a way of motivating the nation to appreciate the security challenge in the country. Of course the gallant Nigerian military men and women on the war front would be better motivated to know that elected leaders are brainstorming on how to improve funding for security, pray and work for the defense of lives and property not expending executive human hours and resources on private weddings of children of public officers. Even in the world of private business, no private company would allow its chief executives in organizing televised weddings of their children when the company is facing a disaster. Of course we have seen official spirited efforts to rescue Dapchi girls but the truth is that the girls are yet to be seen. The parents of the kidnapped girls complain daily of not being regularly informed about the plights of their kidnapped wards, a clear sign of poor governance of a crisis situation.

The burden is on President Buhari to walk his talk that we truly have a national disaster at hand not national non-value adding merry making in a country begging for value addition. Let's pause a bit to imagine the reaction of agonizing parents of the missing girls seeing advertised weddings of children of those who are expected to free theirs.

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