TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU, Maiduguri
Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari visited Dapchi in Yobe State, some of the parents of the girls abducted by Boko Haram have expressed doubt over the president’s promise to find their daughters.
For some of the parents, there were not much on ground that showed the president’s promise would be fulfilled any time soon.
President Buhari during his visit last Wednesday, the first since the February 19 abduction of 110 female students at Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, said he has directed the military and other security agencies to locate the kidnapped girls, rescue and bring them home.
“I have read the full report on what happened at Dapchi. As we received this unfortunate occurrence, what the Federal Government is doing under my leadership is to mobilize the security agencies. I am informing you that the responsibility of the government is to make sure that there is security of its citizens and peace in the land. I have directed the army, air force, police, DSS and the rest of the security agencies to find the girls wherever they are,” the president said.
Buhari who spoke in the Hausa Language reminded the parents and the Dapchi community of his three major electioneering promises of providing security, revamping the economy and fighting corruption, maintaining that his government has “succeeded in all,” adding that the military and other security agencies have been in operations to find and rescue the girls.
Dapchi girls’ parents doubt Mr President
However, the parents of the abducted girls said that they were not convinced by the president’s words and promise to use military operation to rescue their daughters.
“We are not convinced about efforts to rescue our girls because we haven’t seen anything. We haven’t seen much of the military work,” Kachalla Bukar, secretary of the forum of parents of abducted Dapchi girls, told Sunday Sun.
Bukar whose 14-year-old daughter, Aisha, an SSS II student, was among the kidnapped girls, said only the rescue of the girls could convince them of government’s efforts.
He, however, said that they believe Buhari would not lie to them in his promise to rescue the girls although they are not convinced about the level of efforts the government would deploy.
“The Buhari that we know is a gentleman. I don’t think he will stand before us and promise to rescue our girls without fulfilling it. Of course, we are not convinced about the efforts to bring them back since we’ve not seen anything,” he maintained.
Mother of one of the girls, Harira Damagun was more philosophical in her reaction.
“Only Allah cannot fail, not human being,” she declared, saying that she and her family have taken the incident as an act of God.
“We see it as an act of God. Oh Allah, help us from this predicament and save our children!
All we plead is for the government to help us secure the release of our daughters,” she said.
Also Zara Adamu, one of the parents, when asked about her reaction to the president promises, said only safe return of her daughter could convince her.
“Baba Buhari has spoken. I don’t know what they are doing to bring our daughters back, but he said they are doing something. I will be convinced when I see my daughter back alive,” she said.
A day of wailing and crying
The atmosphere at the Dining Hall of the college, venue of the president’s meeting with the
Dapchi parents was charged as soon as he sat down on a raised platform at the hall.
Mothers of the girls seated at the left flank of the hall wailed uncontrollably. The presentation of the chairman of the forum of the Dapchi abducted girls’ parents, Malam Bashir Alhaji Manzo, further acerbated the already tensed mood as the hall was turned to a wailing centre. Bashir had burst into tears midway into his presentation. Sadness enveloped the hall and the president too became very emotional as he fixed his gaze at the red carpet where he was seated as if lost in a trance.
The president emotion came into fore while rounding off his address as his voice dropped slowly as he cut his presentation with prayers, saying “may Allah console you” before he dropped the microphone, and took the national anthem. That concluded the president visit as he left the hall in such moody manner at about 4:30p.m. And the wailing continues…
Solomon Dalong entreaties
Of all the dignitaries, including ministers and security chiefs that accompanied the president to the Dapchi trip, the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalong, took time to sympathize with the parents.
Dalong while entering the hall first shook hands with many of the fathers of the abducted girls.
Thereafter, he spoke in Hausa to the mothers of the girls seated at the left flank, saying “please don’t be dismayed, Allah knows why this is happening now. You are our mothers and you need to be strong. Be hopeful and let’s continue to pray and support government that our girls will be rescued safe and alive.”
Other dignitaries at the meeting included the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau; Adamu Adamu (Education); Lai Mohammed (Information); Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marsha Abubakar Sadiqque; and National Security Adviser, Mohammed Monguno, among others.