The Federal Government has set up a 12-member committee to unravel the circumstances surrounding the abduction of 110 students from a girls’ school in Yobe State.
Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State was attacked by insurgents on Monday last week.
The committee was convened by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd). Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement yesterday that the committee will be headed by a Major General.
It will be made up of one senior Provost each from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force.
Others are representatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA); Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA); Nigeria Police Force; Department of State Services (DSS); Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Also on the committee are two representatives of the Yobe State Government and a representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The terms of reference of the committee include ascertaining the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the girls.
It is also to confirm the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security emplaced in Dapchi as well as in the school before the incident and to suggest measures that can lead to the location and rescue of the girls.
The panel is also saddled with recommending measures to prevent future occurrence.
Air Force to deploy more aircraft – NSA
Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser, Major General Muhammad Babagana Munguno (retired) said yesterday that the Nigerian Air Force had deployed 20 aircraft in Maiduguri and 8 others were on their way in a stepped up efforts to search for the abducted girls.
The NSA spoke during a visit to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam at the Government House Damaturu.
“We have also been made aware of the fact that the Nigerian Air Force will step up its operation regardless of the very hard and severe weather condition. The Nigeria police force has also done a lot in supporting these operations as well as the civil defence corps.
“I am directly involved with all the security agencies. From here I will be moving further up towards the Lake Chad region and we are going to visit border areas with some neighbouring countries.
“I have already been speaking with other groups also, local people who have great understanding of the terrain and the conditions among the local people,” the NSA said.
Munguno said the visit to Yobe was to show solidarity not just with the governor but with the people of Yobe State as well.
“I have a personal message of goodwill from President Muhammadu Buhari to you. Even though other members of the (federal) government have come to commiserate and identify with you, my own visit is not too different from theirs but as his principal adviser on security issues, I felt it’s necessary to come along with members of the security community, especially those currently engaged in the search for the over 100 missing girls of Government Girls Science Technical College Dapchi.
“What I want to reassure you is the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari in getting all these girls back.
“This is primary responsibility that rests not just on his shoulder but on mine as well as all my colleagues who are here and those who are operating elsewhere” he said.
“So far, within the last few days, activities have been stepped up. I had a special meeting with the president to discuss this situation and I have activated certain machineries in my office.
“The theatre command has already started working hard on the search 24 hours nonstop. The Nigerian Air Force has deployed 20 aircraft in Maiduguri and 8 others on their way. So far 200 hours have been utilized in flying sorties looking for these girls.
“Back in Abuja, we have set up our own machinery in dealing with this situation. All the security agencies have been working together. The situation room has been expanded – the one in the office of the National Security Adviser that is linked directly to all other security agencies but most importantly to the theatre command over here.
“For now, I have made efforts with my counterparts across the region to try and work and share intelligence together and see how quickly we can bring to an end this very unfortunate situation. But apart from that we are also looking at other measures in dealing with past occurrences and how to forestall any future occurrence.
“This is a commitment that the government has made, and I am very confident that with all the efforts I have seen put together by the security agencies so far, these girls will be rescued.”
What security agents should do, by Gaidam
In his remarks Governor Gaidam said it was unfortunate that prior to the attack, the Army units stationed in Dapchi and Bayamari towns were removed.
He said: “We are therefore of the opinion that there is no reason whatsoever to take that untimely action since Dapchi is the Headquarters of one of the front line Local Governments and Bayamari too is one of the major settlements close to the neighbouring Republic of Niger associated with porous terrain that should be protected. More so, a girls’ boarding school with a student’s enrolment of about 1000 is also situated at Dapchi.
“In keeping with the recent decimation of the Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa forest, early warning signals were issued for imminent attack on some soft targets and therefore that should continue to guide our security operatives in mapping out strategies of combating the marauding insurgents.
“Compliance with that observation should continue to guide the security operatives and indeed all our citizens as a step forward in further achieving the desired objectives of eliminating and ending the activities of the insurgents.
“We however, appreciate that immediately after our meeting with the Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Information and Culture and Minister of Interior on Sunday, 25th February 2018, the delegation gave orders to the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to provide security to all the schools in the State.
‘This is a step in the right direction in order to assure parents that their children are safe to stay and study in the schools in the State.’
Source – Daily Trust