The Social Democratic Party, SDP, on Thursday described the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorists as “limited good news”, stressing that the development was not good enough as the unfortunate incident could have been prevented by pre-emptive intelligence work.
The opposition party, in a statement issued by its national secretary, Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam, pointed out that the country and its security agencies had been exposed to ridicule for such a large number of girls to be kidnapped in broad daylight, as it regretted that five of the girls lost their lives while some of the girls were still in captivity.
The party, however, congratulated the Federal Government and Nigerians over the return of some the girls kidnapped from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State, while celebrating with the hitherto worried parents who are relieved to be reunited with their loved ones.
Noting that it was as a result of the inter-agency altercations that Nigerians became aware that Dapchi town was an “unmanned territory” at the time of the unfortunate incident, Gabam said it was scandalous that a national government could display such level of incompetence and lack of grip.
While raising questions over the release of the schoolgirls, SDP said, “The circumstance of the return of the girls, the fact that they were dropped at the centre of the town by their alleged kidnappers, who then drove away, raises the question of whether the girls actually kidnapped in the first place.
“Could the APC government be playing a political game for cheap popularity, this time with the precious lives of peoples children? Why was “Mama Boko Haram” quick to publicly reassure the nation that the girls were in safe custody and under the protection of “her son” immediately. Why was she so sure of the condition of the girls and their location and why was she not arrested as an accomplice? These and many more questions are begging for answers.
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“The greater concern, for now, is when the remaining girls be returned. Was any ransom paid for the ones released? Will Nigerians later discover that huge swaths of national revenue have been spirited away into a 2019 election war chest in the name of Boko haram and Dapchi girls? We fear the worst from the APC government of the day, because of its track record of perfidy.
“It is because the SDP holds it as a cardinal principle that the welfare and security of life and property of the citizenry is the primary purpose of government that we demand “acceptable” security standards, and not “minimum” standards. Issues of national security should not be handled with the lackadaisical attitude that has become the norm in Nigeria today. The primary purpose of government should not being served in the breach ..
“While we rejoice at the limited good news of return of the girls and the marginal success on the Dapchi saga, we are quick to say that this is not good enough. The SDP maintains that our beloved country should be seen to be part of a 21st Century world that is defined by efficient institutions of state and effective national security.
“We stand with Nigerians in saying that the people deserve, and demand, nothing less that the best from a government they elected to protect their lives and property and guarantee their welfare in an equitable polity.”