Dapchi Girls: Hold Army, Police Responsible …-Dogara …As FG Lists Details Of Missing 110 Students ….Army Speaks On DIA Memo

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo (right), presiding over the first Quarter Meeting of the State Task Force on Immunisation at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has said that the country would hold the Army and Police responsible for the abduction of 110 Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State.
He also asked the security agencies to take responsibility for failing to stop the abduction, adding that the buck passing between the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force was unacceptable.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Hassan Turaki, Dogara said rather than trading blames, the various security agencies should strengthen inter-agency collaboration and intensify efforts towards rescuing the girls.
“The statements credited to the Army and the Police in which they tried to exonerate themselves from any culpability in the unfortunate and embarrassing abduction of innocent girls from their school in Dapchi , Yobe State, are highly condemnable. “This is unacceptable and the House of Representatives, and indeed Nigerians, will hold the security agencies responsible.
They all bear responsibility for this unfortunate incident. “The traumatic experience of the Chibok abduction which is still fresh in our minds should have served as a warning signal to security agencies to provide adequate security protection to all schools in the North East.
“I want to use this medium to console the parents of the abducted girls and the entire Dapchi community over this unfortunate incident. “I also urge all Nigerians and people of goodwill from all over to pray for the safe return of the girls”.
Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists.
Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, said “some of the girls” had been rescued by troops “from the terrorists who abducted them”. But on a visit to Dapchi last Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government yesterday provided the names and details of the 110 girls missing after Boko Haram attacked Dapchi in Yobe State.
Residents of the community and staff of the school had told newsmen that the girls were kidnapped by the terrorists last week Monday during the attack.
Parents of the girls also released a list of 105 girls missing after the attack.
After the parents released the list, the Federal Government announced that 110 girls were actually missing.
Yesterday, the Federal Government provided the names of the girls and the classes they were in before the abduction.
“Of the 110 missing girls, eight are in JSS1, 17 in JSS2, 12 in JSS3, 40 in SS1, 19 in SS2 and 14 in SS3. The girls’ ages range from 11 to 19 years, the presidency stated on its official Tweeter handle.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, later released a statement providing further details on the missing girls.
Apart from the full list of the missing girls, the statement also contained the age and class each of the 110 students belonged to.
Mr. Mohammed said the details were compiled by a screening committee.
“The 26 screening committee members include the executive secretary, State Teaching Service Board, Musa Abdulsalam; Director, Schools’ Management, Ministry of Education, Shuaibu Bulama; Principal of GGSTC, Adama Abdulkarim; the two vice principals, Ali Musa Mabu and Abdullahi Sule Lampo; Admission Officer, Bashir Ali Yerima, and Form Masters for all the classes,” he said
The statement also indicated that the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, has relocated to Yobe State to ‘personally’ superintend the search for the girls.
Mr. Mohammed said the Nigerian Air Force had flown 200 hours while conducting the search at 6.00 p.m. on Monday.
“The Nigerian Air Force had earlier deployed more platforms to the North-east for the search, as the security agencies ramp up their effort to locate and rescue the girls”, he said
Apart from providing details of the missing girls, the minister also announced that the government set up a 12-member committee to probe the circumstances that led to the Dapchi incident.
According to the minister, the committee will be inaugurated on February 28 and is expected to submit its report by March 15.
Mr. Mohammed said the committee is saddled with recommending measures to prevent future occurrence in the country and suggest measures that can lead to the location and rescue of the girls.
He said the responsibility of the committee includes ascertaining the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the girls, confirming the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security in Dapchi as well as in the school before the incident .
“The committee which was convened by the National Security Adviser (NSA),Babagana Monguno, 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,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Similarly, the Nigerian Army yesterday reacted to a newly-published memo which indicated that the Defence Intelligence Agency put the military on the notice about possible Boko Haram attacks in Borno and Yobe States, some days before insurgents stormed a school and possibly abducted more than 100 girls.
The Army said the memo, published by Sahara Reporters yesterday afternoon, was an attempt to bolster a narrative that the military was negligent in its counter-terrorism duties which consequently resulted in the successful attack on Dapchi, Yobe State, by Boko Haram on February 19.
The February 6 memo, signed by Emmanuel Aladeniyi, a brigadier-general, warned of impending attacks, especially suicide bombing, in public places, such as the University of Maiduguri, markets, mosques and parks.
It also said that Boko Haram was plotting an abduction of 17 citizens for suicide missions and a separate mass abduction of citizens for other deadly missions such as the use of Personnel-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) or Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) “using especially Golf cars with registration numbers from states of the North.”
“It is very crystal clear” that the memo “does not corroborate the argument and narrative Sahara Reporters is attempting to sell to the public,” Onyema Nwachukwu, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, said in a statement to newsmen yesterday afternoon.
“For one, the memo was a general warning about possible Boko Haram activities in Maiduguri and Damaturu, Borno and Yobe capitals, respectively, and did not include any specific or even general reference to Dapchi or facilities within it.
“The content reflects general intelligence alert, to which we cannot conveniently situate the attack on Dapchi, one of the several towns in Yobe State,” Mr. Nwachukwu, a colonel, said.
Secondly, Mr. Nwachukwu said, the date on the memo was February 6, 2018, nearly a month after the troops had been moved from Dapchi to Kanama, about 125 kilometres North-east of Dapchi on Nigeria’s border with Niger. The troops were moved to Kanama on a reinforcement after Nigerian soldiers came under heavy firepower there.
“As at the time of that redeployment, there was no imminent threat on Dapchi,” he said. “Rather, the threat was on Kanama where the insurgents were carrying out attacks along the Nigerian-Nigerien border.”
Mr. Nwachukwu’s statement reaffirms the details he gave newsmen which included the fact that the Nigerian Army’s 159 Task Force Battalion was moved from Dapchi to Kanama on January 10, exactly 40 days before the invasion of the girls’ school in Dapchi on February 19.
The military has come under public criticism since Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State first raised the allegation on February 24 that the military abruptly withdrew from Dapchi a week before the attack.
But the military rejected the claim first on Sunday night and again yesterday, saying soldiers left Dapchi about six weeks before the attack and had a compelling reason to do so.
Mr. Nwachukwu said the police were placed in charge of security operations in Dapchi, which he said had never been attacked before January 19 and was never under any imminent threat of Boko Haram.
The police have rejected the allegations, saying the military did not “formally hand over the security of the town to them.”
The Army insisted that the police should be responsible for communities that have never been attacked before by insurgents, like Dapchi, and communities that were once Boko Haram strongholds but had since been liberated.
“Our role is to defend the territorial integrity of the country. It’s the role of the sister security agencies to protect the civilian population whenever we have liberated a community from insurgents,” Mr. Nwachukwu told newsmen.
He said the police did nothing to repel the attack despite having a division in Dapchi.