The committee set up by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) to unravel the circumstances surrounding the abduction of students from Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi has met with H.E Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam at Government House Damaturu today.
The committee is chaired by Rear Admiral VO Adedipe. It has 12 members drawn from various security agencies, the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and also from the Yobe State Government.
Rear Admiral Adedipe, who commiserated with the governor and the government and people of Yobe State over the sad incident, said the federal government is “leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the girls are rescued (and returned) safely back home”.
“Your Excellency, our committee was set up and inaugurated by the National Security Adviser (NSA) to unravel the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the students from GGSTC Dapchi, and we are tasked with seven terms of reference”, Adedipe said.
“The first one is to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the students on the 19th of February 2018. The second term of reference is for us to determine the exact number of persons that were abducted on that day and the third one is to confirm the presence, composition, scale, and disposition of the security in Dapchi as well as in the school on that day.
“We are also to look at the communication facilities in Dapchi and their functionality on that day. In addition, we will recommend to the government the measures to locate and rescue the students. As we speak, Your Excellency, a lot is going on with a view to locating and rescuing the students.
“And then, we are also to suggest measures to be put in place in order to prevent future occurrence of this unfortunate incidence. And lastly, we are supposed to recommend any other measure that we may feel necessary as a committee.
“When we came into Maiduguri yesterday, we interacted with the Chief of Army Staff. We also interacted with the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole and we got into Damaturu yesterday and we interacted with the GOC 3 Armoured Div. After seeing Your Excellency, we would crave your indulgence to interact with some of your very senior officials because there are a number of issues we want to look into with a view to meeting the terms of reference of our committee”, the chairman of the committee said.
In his speech, H.E Gov. Gaidam described the visit by the committee as a “significant milestone” which reinforces the commitment of the Federal Government to the protection of the lives and property of the people and the enhancement of their living conditions.
“I would like to state that since the unfortunate attack on Dapchi town and the College which resulted in 110 school Girls unaccounted for, we have, on the marching orders of President Muhammadu Buhari, received four separate high-level delegations from the Federal Government on sympathy and fact-finding missions”, the governor said.
H.E Gov. Gaidam said the setting up of the committee by the federal government and its deployment to the state inspires confidence that the abducted schoolgirls will be found.
“Our hopes are raised, and we remain in a high spirit that right steps and strategies are continuously being put in place to ensure that the missing schoolgirls are returned to their parents in good health. I am optimistic that with the kind of inspiring concern we have seen exhibited by the Federal Government, other patriotic Nigerians and indeed the International community, efforts will continue to be intensified until all the girls are found.”, the governor said.
H.E Gov. Gaidam further said: “The Committee’s interface with stakeholders in the State, particularly the wider society and the security agencies will serve as an important avenue of getting relevant information firsthand that will facilitate and ease its assignment.
“However, after a thorough investigation by the school authority and report by the parents after the incident, it was revealed that 110 students were missing.
“At this point, let me inform the Committee of further developments since Thursday, 22nd February 2018 when I met the first Federal Government delegation led by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at Dapchi.
“During our interaction, I requested for the redeployment of soldiers to Dapchi due to the fact that it is the headquarters of a frontline Local Government in which a girls’ boarding school with an enrolment figure of about 1000 girls is located.
“I am glad to note that the Nigerian Army has acted with dispatch on that request by redeploying about 100 soldiers to Dapchi. I have also noted that some Army checkpoints, like those in Ngelzarma and Damagum, have also been realigned in order to respond to any security threat to schools at various locations in the State. May I, therefore, express our appreciation to the Military high command and the Theatre Commander for prompt response to our request.
“I equally wish to bring to the notice of the Chairman and members of this important Committee that immediately after our meeting with the Federal Government delegation comprising the Minister of Information and Culture and Minister of Interior on Sunday, 25th February 2018, the delegation gave orders to the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to provide security to all the schools in the State and this has been complied with. All these are steps in the right direction in order to assure parents that their children are safe to stay and study in all schools in the State.
“May I at this point take the opportunity to reiterate our commendation for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, other security operatives, and for the political will and commitment being exhibited by President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against insurgency and other forms of crimes in Nigeria. The Nigerian Armed forces and sister security agencies should equally continue to strengthen synergy and effective collaboration including exchange of information for effective surveillance, particularly aerial surveillance by the Nigeria Air Force. This will enable the officers and men of the Nigerian Army; the Nigeria Air Force and other security operatives cover all the Local Government Areas particularly the vulnerable areas in Yobe State.
“I also appeal to the Federal Government to come up with a comprehensive strategy of mopping up remnants of the insurgents in all their hideouts within and outside the State.
“Furthermore, I wish to commend the efforts of the National Security Adviser, Major General Muhammadu Babagana Monguno (Rtd) for taking the bold step to constitute the Committee and inaugurate it on Wednesday 28th February 2018. I have noted with satisfaction that the membership of the Committee cuts across services and include Officers of the Nigerian Military, Nigerian Police, Department of State Security, representatives of the Yobe State Government, among others.
“We also have no doubt that based on their wealth of experience, competence, merit, proven integrity, and other outstanding qualities which informed their choice, they will proffer implementable and far-reaching recommendations that will stand the test of time and point of reference in our quest for addressing National Security issues.
“Similarly, I believe members of the Committee have been fully briefed on this assignment by the National Security Adviser on the occasion of the inauguration of the Committee. It is my hope that the Committee would be guided strictly by its terms of reference. We are also optimistic that they will justify the confidence and trust reposed in them by the National Security Adviser and indeed all Nigerians.
“In view of the occurrence of similar incidents in the past in the State, there is the need to go to the root of this matter in order to forestall a future recurrence. The findings and recommendations of the Committee should, therefore, address the issues contained in its terms of reference.
“In conclusion, I wish to assure the Chairman and members of the Committee that the Yobe State Government will give them every support, cooperation and assistance towards ensuring successful discharge of their assignment in the State.
“In the final analysis, however, what all the parents require is to see their beloved daughters in their houses early and in good health. We, therefore, pray that all the efforts being made will lead to the achievement of this objective.
“Finally, I wish the Chairman and members of the Committee happy stay in Yobe State, successful and hitch free interaction with stakeholders on the relevant issues contained in the Committee’s Terms of Reference. I equally wish them a safe journey to their next destination and abodes at the end of their mission”.