Parents and guardians of the missing school girls in Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State broke into tears when Governor Ibrahim Gaidam visited them without saying a word on the whereabouts of the girls. Addressing the parents at the District Head’s palace in Dapchi yesterday, the governor urged the parents to remain faithful as security operatives were still searching for the girls.
He said “soldiers have been pursuing the insurgents, although they receive information that the Boko Haram insurgents had passed some areas, but the communities in the areas said they did not spot the girls along with the insurgents.”
He assured that government and security operatives would not rest on their oars until the missing girls were accounted for. The waiting parents wept profusely as the earlier news that the girls were rescued turned out to be false.
The Yobe State Government, on Wednesday, issued a statement claiming some of the missing girls had been rescued. Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had appealed to parents and guardians for additional time to search for the missing school girls.
The minister made the appeal while fielding questions from newsmen when he led Federal Government delegation to Dapchi yesterday. He said the actual number of the missing school girls would be determined in the next few days when parents come forward with complaint of their missing wards.
Meanwhile, the Yobe State Government has apologised for a false report it released stating that some of the missing school girls from the state had been rescued.
At least 30 girls of the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi, were still missing as at Wednesday evening, three days after their school was attacked by suspected Boko Haram members.
A government statement late on Wednesday stated that many of the missing girls had been freed by soldiers, a statement that turned out false.
The state government released the statement below yesterday evening to apologise for the misinformation.
“The public may recall that we issued a statement last night in which we announced that some of the girls at Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi who went missing after Boko Haram terrorists had stormed their school last Monday were rescued by officers and men of the Nigerian Army who are currently executing the war against the Boko Haram Insurgents.
We issued the statement on the basis of information provided by one of the security agencies that is involved in the fight against Boko Haram and which we had no reason to doubt.
We have now established that the information we relied on to make the statement was not credible.
The Yobe State Government apologises for that.
His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Gaidam was in Dapchi today where he met with community leaders and the Principal and staff of the Girls’ College. The governor also addressed the parents of some of the school girls that are still unaccounted for where he told them to pray and exercise patience as the government and security agencies at all levels continue the work to address the unfortunate situation.
His Excellency Governor Gaidam has also directed Education Ministry officials and the school administration to work closely with the security agencies to establish the actual number of the girls that are still unaccounted for and to contact parents and the community for possible information that could be useful in the investigation.
His Excellency Governor Gaidam shares deeply and personally in the grief about the unfortunate event at the Girls’ College and, under his leadership, the Yobe State Government will continue to do everything necessary in partnership with security agencies and the federal government to address the situation”.
In another development, Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has expressed concern over the reported abduction of 94 pupils of the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, appealing to the Federal Government to ensure that the remaining girls are found and stop lying to Nigerians that the Boko Haram insurgency had been “completely defeated.”
The governor, who also described the new report by Transparency International (TI) revealing that the perception of corruption in Nigeria worsened between 2016 and 2017, as another vindication of his position that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of President Muhammadu Buhari was not fighting any corruption, adding that “Transparency International only confirmed what I have said before that President Buhari is only hiding under anti-corruption fight to harass his perceived political foes while protecting corrupt people in his government.”
In a statement issued in Ado Ekiti yesterday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said it was painful that despite the earlier claim by the Federal Government that Boko Haram was “technically defeated” and the latest one that the insurgency was “completely defeated”, 94 students could be abducted in Yobe State in just one day.
He said; “My heart goes to those 46 students that are yet to be found and I urge the federal government as well as the Yobe State government to do all within their powers to bring the students back to their families.
“Most importantly, the Federal Government should stop lying concerning the fight against Boko Haram insurgents because it has now become the tradition that whenever the government boasts of defeating the insurgents, greater havoc is wreaked on the country.”
On the Transparency International annual Corruption Perception Index, which ranked Nigeria 148 out of 180 countries assessed in 2017, showing deterioration in perception of corruption in public administration in Nigeria compared to 2016, Governor Fayose said: “Transparency International has placed a question mark on the President’s claim to integrity.”
“Fact is that President Buhari is presiding over the worse form of corruption in the history of Nigeria and the good thing is that despite their propaganda, they have not been able hide the rot in their government from the eagle eyes of international organisations like the Transparency International.
“In the last few months, Nigerians have been confronted with messy revelations like the fraudulent reinstatement of Abdullahi Maina, alleged award of $25 billion contracts without following due process, Attorney-General of the Federation’s declaration that the EFCC lacked evidence to prove its allegations of sharp practices against prominent players in the Malabu Oil deal, alleged re-looting of exotic properties recovered from alleged looters of Pension Funds, among others.
“Even the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu was indicted by the DSS for corruption. “Therefore, the reality as revealed by the Transparency International is that the federal government under President Buhari is using APC broom to sweep corruption involving top functionaries of the government under the carpet while setting the lion after opposition figures even on mere rumour of corruption.”
Also, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar ýhas reacted to the abduction of High school girls by Boko Haram insurgents from Government Secondary School, Dapchi.
Our correspondent had reported that 48 girls out of 94 missing after Boko Haram attack in the school returned.
Reacting to the sad incident, Atiku while calling on Nigerians to support the parents of the victims prayed for their safety.
The former Vice President on his twitter page wrote, “My heart and prayers are with the#DapchiGirls who are missing and their families.
“Let’s give our unconditional support to them and to the agencies and security forces who are working to find them. There is nothing that should unify us more than the safe return of these children.”
In the same vein, the Senate yesterday charged the federal government to beef-up security in the country, just as it equally urged it to rescue the abducted students of the Government Girls’ Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State to avoid the repetition of what happened in 2014, Chibok Girls, newsmen report.
This was made known to newsmen in yesterday’s plenary session. According to Sen Bukar Abba who cited orders 42 & 52, said on Monday, “Boko Haram attacked Government Girls’ Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State and as at this morning 46 girls are missing.
In his contribution, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said “Boko Haram now sees young girls as targets, we need to be extra careful and we need to take extra measures in protecting our schools especially our female schools.”
Reacting to the statements of Sen Bukar, Senator Hassa Mohammed opined, “There are no actual numbers of the girls missing, the police have their numbers and the school has a different number. The state Government has failed in performing the basic duties of protecting lives and properties.”
The Senate condemned the attack on the school and re-insurgence of Boko Haram; and urged the Federal Government to urgently recover the girls to avoid a repeat of what happened to the Chibok girls.
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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