The Senate has warned against treating the Boko Haram attack on Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, like the case of the Chibok girls.
The warning followed the adoption of a motion at the plenary on Thursday which was moved by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe East) on the attack, where 94 students were declared missing out of which 48 had been found as of Wednesday night.
Boko Haram had attacked Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014, where about 200 pupils were abducted and over half of them had either escaped or released, while others have remained in captivity.
The upper chamber also said there was a “resurgence” of attacks by Boko Haram, which was linked to payment of ransome to the terrorist group.
Granting payers of the motion, the lawmakers unanimously resolved to “condemn the attack on the school and resurgence of the insurgency” and urged the Federal Government to “urgently rescue the girls and not repeat the Chibok girls’ experience.”
Speaking on the motion, Senator Joshua Lidani stated that the Chibok girls incidence should have taught Nigeria the lesson that schools are a major target of the insurgents. He decried that the Federal Government had continued to pay ransome to Boko Haram to secure release of captives, thereby empoweing the terrorist group.
Lidani said, “We have observed of recent that this spate of kidnapping happens whenever Boko Haram members are being severely attacked or are on the run. They devise a means of going to abduct people so that they would negotiate with the Federal Government for ransom.
“It happened with the recent abduction of some University of Maiduguri staff that were on an exploration mission. The government negotiated with them (insurgents) and they got money. Now, they have been empowered. Even on police officers’ wives, the Federal Government went and negotiated with them and they were given money.
“We need to be very proactive in this case because the idea of sitting down and always negotiating and paying ransom; we are empowering Boko Haram to continue to do more. This may not be the end of it because after this, if they have abducted these girls, they will demand ransom and if the ransom is paid, it means they would continue to engage in this.”
Lidani urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do more by visiting the scenes and victims of attacks to show empathy.
He said, “But the most worrisome aspect is the fact that at times like this, whenever we are faced with this kind of situation, the nation ought to hear from the President. He ought to say something.
“When there were killings in the United States in a school, the President himself went to that school to sympathise with the students and the parents. But here, since the time of the Chibok girls, we have had killings, abductions and Mr. President ought to sympathise (with the victims). He ought to utter words of sympathy; he ought to come on television and say one thing or the other. It will bring comfort to those who are in distress. People will have the feeling that the President has them in his heart.”
In his ruling, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said the Senate was aware that the military and the police “are overstretched in all ramifications at this period of national insecurity.” He added that it was what made the case for another level of policing stronger.