ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Senate on Thursday, summoned the service chiefs and the National Security Adviser (NSA) to appear before it and brief the lawmakers in closed session on what they are doing about the Chibok girls, two years after they were abducted from their school in Chibok, Borno State.
This was part of the resolutions passed by the lawmakers on Thursday after debate on a motion titled: ‘The Abduction of Chibok Schoolgirls: Two Years After’.
It was sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye alongside three other senators.
Though the lawmakers did not disclose the date when the service chiefs and the NSA would appear before it, but senators across party lines supported the move by condemning the continued abduction of the Chibok girls, saying it has become a source of national embarrassment to Nigeria.
Aside inviting the service chiefs and the NSA, the lawmakers also resolved that the Federal Government should take over the Chibok Girls School, which had been burnt down by the insurgents, and rehabilitate and rebuild it for academic purposes.
It was the first time the Senate mandated a Muslim senator, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, and another Christian senator, Emmanuel Bwacha, to pray for the end of the insurgency in the north east and for the repose of the souls of all those that have died since the insurgency commenced.
The Senate mandated the security agencies to do everything humanly possible to ensure the release of the girls, just as it commended the #BringBackOurGirls group for their doggedness in the campaign for the release of the Chibok girls.
Earlier in his motion, Melaye said the abduction has taken a toll on the people of Chibok, particularly the families of the missing girls, adding that an association of parents of the abducted schoolgirls said 18 mothers and fathers of the girls have died since the mass abduction.
He disclosed also that the school where the abduction took place two years ago is now a pile of rubble, as the school which was demolished is yet to be rebuilt leaving them without any school now.
“We cannot succeed as a government until those girls are released. Getting back the over 200 Chibok school girls into the society is important and a must for our security agencies,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Senator Shehu Sani said there was need for the government to constitute a team to get the girls out from captivity, adding that he has a model on how to rescue the Chibok girls.
He said the government officials and politicians are rescued by the security agencies within one or two weeks, after they were abducted, wondering why the case of Chibok girls will be different.
However, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, countered the submission by Sani by arguing that kidnapping for money is different from kidnapping by Boko Haram insurgents, warning against mixing the two.
He called on all those who have clues on how the Chibok girls could be rescued to bring it on, rather than waiting to be invited, just as he said nobody would wait for invitation if his daughters were kidnapped.
He added that the sponsor of the motion, Melaye and other leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), rode on the back of the abduction of the 219 Chibok school girls to win last year’s general elections.
He wondered why those who led protests against the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue the girls have suddenly kept quiet.
“I remember in 2014, Dino Melaye used to wear a T-shirt and he led the protest to ensure that the abducted school girls were released. He was always at the National Fountain to lead a protest against the government. He eventually cashed in on it and won elections. Other people in APC did the same thing,” he said.
But he commended the Federal Government for its efforts and successes in recovery of territories and routing the insurgents.
In his concluding remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, said the international community was still concerned that the girls were yet to be released, adding that as long as they remained in captivity, the country would still be in embarrassment.
He once again called for the establishment of state police, saying it is more effective in Nigeria, especially given that the country is not being adequately policed due to insufficient manpower.