Dapchi: Buhari vows to punish guilty agencies
The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has vowed to punish agencies and individuals found culpable in the February 19 abduction of 110 students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State.
Even though the number of the abducted school girls is still subject to controversy, Abu Musa Albarnawi led Boko Haram faction is suspected to be behind the attacks.
This was disclosed on Wednesday by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), while inaugurating a 12-man Probe Panel , to investigate and unravel the incident that led to the mass abduction.
To this end, Monguno has charged the Committee not to spare any institution or persons found guilty in the findings as used to be the case in the past.
He said: “We are using the money of tax payers to carry out this assignment and they are entitled to getting results for whatever this committee does.
“Again, the inclination to push things under the carpet, to be sympathetic to groups or organizations will not be tolerated. You must unravel everything. Where people are culpable, it should come out in your report.”
Against this backdrop, Monguno tasked the panel on the need to keep the public abreast of the findings of their findings as a demonstration of the seriousness government to the issue.
“We must let the people of Nigeria know that we have taken this incident with all the seriousness it requires and we are going to solve this problem.
“I wouldn’t want a situation whereby you are going to be suppressed by any individual, any group or organisation or agency because we are not going to allow anybody to cover up anything in this matter.
“These are people’s children, our children and we must be seen to be doing the right thing”, he said.
Speaking further, the NSA frowned upon the public spat between the Nigerian Army and Police, over security of Dapchi before the attack that led to the abduction of the girls.
The military had in a response to the allegations by the Yobe State Government claimed handed over security to the Police Division in the town, but the Police countered the position as false, saying there was not time security of the town was handed over to them.
But Monguno told the Committee thag conflicting positions of the two fighting agencies, is a source of embarrassment to President Buhari.
To this end, he said the federal government will leave no stone unturned in its determination to unravel the circumstances surrounding the schoolgirls’ abduction.
Monguno regretted that the development had “cast a shadow” on not only the Buhari’s Administration, but the nation in general.
He continued: “The abduction of the school girls by the terrorists is a worrisome incident that requires deliberate, urgent and relentless efforts on the part of government.
“There has been conflicting reports from various quarters on the event that led to the adoption, the number of persons abducted, as well as their identity.
“This does not portray the country in good light. There have also been reports, especially in the social media which tends to support some level of inactivity by relevant organisations.
“Therefore, there is a need to verify the circumstances surrounding the abduction of these girls from the Government Girls Secondary School.”
The NSA said government was not unaware of the “cynicism outside”, and vowed to ensure that the Dapchi incident was not treated with such a laxity that reminds of the Chibok girls saga.
He said: “Considering the importance of the issue and the urgency required to promptly address the terms of reference and associated concerns, you are to commence sitting immediately and submit your report to me in two weeks time.
“I, therefore, implore members of the committee to be objective in their findings in order to address this ugly development. I must emphasis here also that there is a lot of cynicism outside in the wider society.
“This is not the first time such incident has taken place. On the 14th of April, 2014, a lot of girls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok. A committee was set by the previous administration to look into the circumstances that led to the abduction of those girls.
“What I want to emphasis to you is that this investigation has to be done with all the seriousness it deserves. This is not going to be another exercise in futility.”
To also ensure that the current probe report was.not buried like the previous ones, promised that a White Paper will be produced and gazetted.
“Your report also will be followed by a white paper. The president is extremely concerned about this incident which I have already told you, is beginning to cast a dark shadow on not just the administration but the country.”
Monguno also charged the panel to extend their probe beyond Yobe State, even as he insisted that security was everyone’s business.
“The truth of the matter is that security is all embracing. It is not just for agencies of government. There is always an interface between the wider society and security agencies, especially in the context of the 21st century issues of insecurity.
“This time around, your work is going to permeate into the population not just in Yobe state, probably in Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe states and so on and so forth. But the basic motivation in this very exercise is to get result. I want results; this is not just going to be something theoretical, paper or suggestions that will end up on someone desk without anything happening.”
The NSA also noted that the Committee findings may give clue that would help to unravel the mysterious kidnapping of the Chibok girls.
He charged the Panel who must start “with immediate effect” to submit their report within two weeks under the listed Terms of Reference (TOR).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, had on the Committee, which will be chaired by a military officer of the rank of Major General, comprises one senior Provost each from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force; representatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA); Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA); Nigeria Police Force (NPF); Department of State Services (DSS); Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); two representatives of the Yobe State Government and a representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Mohammed had also listed the TOR to include ascertaining the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the girls, confirming the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security emplaced in Dapchi as well as in GGSTC before the incident and suggesting measures that can lead to the location and rescue of the girls.
Responding, the Chairman of the probe panel, Rear Admiral Victor Adedipe, assured the their commitment and loyalty to the nation. He also promised to submit an “implementable report” within the stipulated time frame.