Girls’ abduction: BBOG threatens to sue FG, Reps begin probe
AN ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives began preliminary investigations into the abduction of 110 girls from the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, by the Boko Haram insurgents on February 19.
The committee, which is chaired by Mr. Buba Yusuf-yakub, said the latest abduction again raised the question on rising security challenges in the country.
“It suggests that our security challenges as a nation have become nastier and frighteningly comprehensive to such an extent that life in Nigeria has become short and brutish.”
Yusuf-yakub, who spoke with reporters at the National Assembly, said the committee’s modus operandi would include meeting with military commanders, the parents of the girls, the police, the school authorities and the state and local governments’ officials to get first-hand information.
He also said the committee would find out whether security agencies were complicit and whether there was dereliction of duty.
The chairman added, “The committee will at the end of this important national assignment, express its opinion, apportion blame where necessary and make recommendations.”
Meanwhile, the Bring back our girls group says it will sue the Federal Government next week for the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok and Dapchi in the North-east if it fails to provide answers to 14 questions raised over the abduction of the girls.
The Co-convener of the BBOG and a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, said this during a ‘sit-out’ in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ezekwesili, who was flanked by other BBOG members and human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said the government would be sued for gross negligence.
While posing 14 questions to the Federal Government, Ezekwesili said it was unfortunate that a government that had been boasting of defeating Boko Haram still allowed innocent schoolgirls to be abducted.
She asked the government to explain the claims and counter-claims by the Federal Government that the girls had been rescued thereby causing confusion.
The ex-minister also asked the government to explain what happened to the Safe School Initiative that was signed by the Federal Government in 2014 and to which it committed $10m alongside other donations by the several donors, including the international community.
She wondered why soldiers were withdrawn from Dapchi shortly before the attack thereby making it easy for the terrorists to attack the school and abduct the schoolgirls.
Ezekwesili added, “The key point is that within seven days of our demanding the response to our 14 questions we shall be suing the Federal Government of Nigeria for gross negligence that led to the abduction of the girls.
“Our lawyers, Femi Falana and Co, will be representing us in the suit against the Federal Government of Nigeria. We hereby serve the Federal Government a notice that in the next seven days, we need all the answers to our questions.”
Also speaking, Falana said the government had failed to protect lives and property which remains its primary responsibility.
Falana said it was based on the Federal Government’s failure to fulfil its primary constitutional mandate that the BBOG would be going to court.
The senior advocate said, “Section 14 (2) of the constitution provides that the security and welfare of every citizen of Nigeria shall be the primary purpose of government. Secondly, Section 35 of the constitution guarantees the right to personal liberty.
“In other words, no citizen of Nigeria can be abducted or detained illegally without a reaction from the government.
“So, that duty has been breached in the case of Chibok and Dapchi girls and why it is worse in this case is that having regard to the facts and circumstances of the developments in that part of the country, it is intolerable and unacceptable that the same manner of abduction took place. Are we being told that there was no security for those schools in the North-east geopolitical zone?”
•L-R: Chairman, Geum Macrophyllum Project, Mr. Akeem Apatira; Director of Accounts, Office of Establishments & Training, Mr. Deji Koko; Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr. Akintola Oke; and Chairman, House Committee on Establishments, Training, Pension and Public Service, Adedayo Famakinwa, during a two-day training on building values and sound human relations skills for Lagos State workers in Lagos...on Tuesday.