Abducted Dapchi schoolgirls’ parents protest in Abuja

Parents of some of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls wept yesterday as they staged a protest in front of the National Assembly in Abuja to draw attention to their plight.

They urged the government to do everything possible to bring back the 110 pupils of the Government Girls Technical Science School, Dapchi, who were abducted on February 19.

One of the parents, Yahaya Taributu, whose three daughters are among those abducted, said laxity of security officials and incompetence created room for the abduction.

Wondering why troops were withdrawn from  Dapchi 21 days before the abduction, Taributu said: “Government should go and bring back our daughters.

“We don’t know why the government had to withdraw the soldiers, but we believe that government knows better. We cannot, and will not rest, over this matter, until we meet four eyes with our daughters”.

The parents carried placards with various inscriptions to denounce the abduction and the government’s failure to take action immediately to stop the terrorists. They wore black shirts with the inscription, “We are Dapchi People.”,

They alleged that since the abduction of their children, there had been no contact with them by government officials.

A mother, Aisha Alhaji Bukar, who kept weeping, said her daughter’s absence had made her sorrowful.

Another, Aisha Kundili Bukar and Adamu Gashuama, a father, said there was no visible security in the town.

“Even now, if you go to Dapchi now, you can carry mothers, fathers and all their children into captivity unchallenged. Dapchi is not safe,” Hajiya Bukar said.

The Senate and the House of Representatives debated the Dapchi abduction yesterday and came up with resolutions.

The House of Representatives called on the Federal Government to rescue the girls promptly.

The lawmakers arrived at the resolution after a long deliberation on this year’s International Women’s Day, through a motion brought by Chairperson, House Committee on Women Affairs, Hon. Stella Ngwu (PDP Enugu) urging the Federal Government to secure freedom for all kidnapped school girls.

They also enjoined the authorities to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls and provide security for school children and women.

Lawmakers, such as Lynda Ikpeazu, PDP, Anambra; Aisha Dukku, APC, Gombe; Garba Tchede, APC, Taraba; and Gudaji Kazaure, APC, Jigawa, called on the government to provide a legal framework for gender parity and support women in their quest for gender mainstreaming.

The Senate summoned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mr Ibrahim Idris and Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai, who are to brief the Joint Committees on Police Affairs, Security and Intelligence and on operational strategies to rescue the abducted school girls.

The resolutions followed a motion moved by Sen. Binta Garba (APC, Adamawa State) during plenary.

•Taributu, whose three kids were abducted (second right) and other parents during the protest...yesterdayPhotoS: Abayomi Fayese
Taributu, whose three kids were abducted (second right) and other parents during the protest…yesterday

The motion, which was read by Deputy Minority Whip Biodun Olujimi on behalf of Garba, was in commemoration of the International Women’s Day.

She said: “The implementation of policies that prohibit violence against women and girls and promote girl-child education is still very poor.

“Practices, such as violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking, sexual and other types of exploitation, early child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation are still being practised.

“A pattern is gradually being established which clearly indicates that the objectives of the Boko Haram Insurgents is to deprive young girls of school age from pursuing education.”

In Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, agreed that women needed to be celebrated due to their unique accomplishments in all facets of life.

Also yesterday, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, including the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNCD) and Our Mumu Don Do Movement, called on the National Assembly to probe the abduction.

“As representatives of the people, the time has come for the National Assembly to take every action that can spur the executive and the nation to act.

“The National Assembly is invited to conduct a powerful investigation to unravel whatever conspiracy has been alleged so far, and the circumstances surrounding how over hundred girls will be kidnapped in a ‘war zone’ without them being spotted, or meeting police/ military check point.,” the coalition said in a statement by Ariyo- Dare Aroye and Raphael Adebayo, who represented the CSOs.

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