The United Nations (UN) yesterday demanded that the abductors of the 110 pupils of the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State should release them immediately.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “very much hopes that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, and just as importantly, that the girls will be found and returned to safety”.
“I think the fact that these young women were abducted in an educational setting, where they should have been safe, where they should feel safe, just adds to the horror of the story.”
In a statement by his spokesperson, Mr Stephane Dujarric, Guiteres said he was gravely concerned over the situation.
The UN chief urged the Nigerian authorities to swiftly bring those responsible for this dastardly act to justice.
Guterres reiterated the solidarity and support of the UN to the Nigerian Government and other affected countries in the region in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
The UN had earlier described the abduction as “another horrific incident where young women and girls are targeted by terror groups”.
Yesterday in Abuja, National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno inaugurated a 12-man panel to look into the circumstances leading to the kidnap of the girls, which he said did not portray Nigeria in good light.
Monguno said: “The abduction of the schoolgirls by the terrorists is a worrisome incident that requires deliberate, urgent and relentless efforts on the part of government.
“There has been conflicting reports from various quarters on the event that led to the abduction, the number of persons abducted, as well as their identity.
“This does not portray the country in good light. There have also been reports, especially in the social media, which tend to support some level of inactivity by relevant organisations.
“Therefore, there is a need to verify the circumstances surrounding the abduction of these girls from the Government Girls Secondary School.”
Monguno listed the committee’s terms of reference. They are:
determine the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the students from the school on the 18th of February;
determine the exact number of persons abducted alongside their identity as there are conflicting reports in this regard;
confirm the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security emplaced in Dapchi, as well as the school itself before the incident;
ascertain the existing communication in the Dapchi and their functionality;
suggest measures that can lead to the location and immediate rescue of the abducted girls; and
to recommend measure to be emplaced in preventing future occurrences, and any other detail the committee may deem necessary.
“Considering the importance of the issue and the urgency required to promptly address the terms of reference and associated concerns, you are to commence sitting immediately and submit your report to me in two weeks, “ Monguno told the committee.
He urged the members “to be objective in their findings in order to address this ugly development”.
The NSA went on: “I must emphasis here also that there is a lot of cynicism outside in the wider society.
“This is not the first time such incident has taken place. On the 14th of April, 2014, a lot of girls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok.
“A committee was set by the previous administration to look into the circumstances that led to the abduction of those girls.
“What I want to emphasis to you is that this investigation has to be done with all the seriousness it deserves. This is not going to be another exercise in futility. We are using the money of tax payers to carry out this assignment and they are entitled to getting results for whatever this committee does.
“Again, the inclination to push things under the carpet, to be sympathetic to groups or organisations will not be tolerated. You must unravel everything. Where people are culpable, it should come out in your report.”
The NSA said “the report also will be followed by a white paper”. “The President is extremely concerned about this incident which I have already told you, is beginning to cast a dark shadow on not just the administration but the country.
“The truth of the matter is that security is all-embracing. It is not just for agencies of government.
“There is always an interface between the wider society and security agencies, especially in the context of the 21st century issues of insecurity. This time around, your work is going to permeate into the population, not just in Yobe State, probably in Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe states and so on and so forth.”
He added that “the basic motivation in this very exercise is to get result. I want results; this is not just going to be something theoretical, paper or suggestions that will end up on someone’s desk without anything happening.
“We must let the people of Nigeria know that we have taken this incident with all the seriousness it requires and we are going to solve this problem.
“I wouldn’t want a situation whereby you are going to be suppressed by any individual, any group or organisation or agency because we are not going to allow anybody to cover up anything in this matter.
“These are people’s children, our children and we must be seen to be doing the right thing.”
The chairman of the committee, Real Admiral Victor Adedipe, assured the NSA of the members’ commitment to ensuring that the findings are authentic and unbiased.