I share your pains, Buhari tells Chibok girls’ parents
• President raises hope on rescue
• Senate to summon NSA, service chiefs
• Reps, Lagos Assembly want search intensified
Although he was not at home in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday spared a thought for the over 200 Chibok girls in Boko Haram’s captivity. From China, the president sympathised with parents and relations of the girls as the world observed the second anniversary of their abduction.
Buhari said he shared in the ordeal of the parents as they remembered their children. The girls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014.
The president who is currently on a week-long state visit to China, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, affirmed that as a parent and leader of the country, he understood the torment, frustration and anxiety of the parents and would not spare any effort to ensure the safe return of the girls.
“The president continues to believe that with the total commitment of the Federal Government, the Nigerian Armed Forces and security agencies, and the support of the international community, the girls will be eventually rescued.
“President Buhari notes that thousands of persons, mostly women and children, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, have already been rescued and reunited with their families. He shares the hope of the parents that the Chibok girls will ultimately be rescued and reunited with their families as well,” the statement read.
Buhari assured the parents that the Federal Government and security agencies would continue to explore all possible options for the safe return of the girls. He urged the parents to continue to exercise patience and understanding as the government works diligently to ensure that the girls return home unharmed.
The president thanked all Nigerians, religious and civil organisations, and the international community for their continued sympathy, support and prayers for the return of the abducted girls.
Meanwhile, the Senate has unanimously resolved that the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and all the service chiefs be invited to brief the lawmakers in a closed-door session on their efforts so far at rescuing the abducted girls.No date was given on when the service chiefs will appear before the Senate.
After an exhaustive debate on a motion tagged, “The Abduction of Chibok School Girls- Two years after”, the Senate expressed the worry that about a year into the administration of Buhari which raised the hope about early rescue of the Chibok girls, Nigerians were yet to see any result.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, reiterated the commitment of the Senate to the safe return of the Chibok girls and said members of the legislature would not rest until the students are rescued and reunited with their families.
Saraki spoke when the Women Arise for Change Initiative (WACI) led by its President, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, visited him in Abuja as part of activities to mark the second anniversary of the kidnap of the girls and also to present a Guideline on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and young persons in Nigeria to him.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, Saraki expressed optimism that the efforts at rescuing the Chibok girls are moving towards a positive conclusion.
“I want to assure that the eighth Senate is in total support of your activities and you can take us as partners in this process of reducing gender- based violence. The caliber of senators present at this courtesy call demonstrates our commitment to work with you.
“Today also symbolises two years in which we had this horrific event of the kidnap of the Chibok girls. So far, as we all recognise, I believe that we are getting closer to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Definitely, a great achievement has been recorded militarily in the North East. Yes, the job has not been completed, but I believe that we are moving towards a more positive end hopefully.
“I want to assure you that none of us would rest until the Chibok girls are safely rescued. We will play our roles to give all the support we can. I think that we must commend our officers and men for having done very well. However, we urge all our security agencies to do more because we can only say you have done very well after the girls are back to their families. Anything else is just an effort and work in progress.
“I think we must be blunt with ourselves that as a country, we have a responsibility to rescue the Chibok girls, because the only way we can judge ourselves that truly as a nation, we have been able to deliver, is to bring the girls back to their families,” the statement noted.
Also yesterday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara enjoined the authorities to set specific target for security agents as part of on-going rescue efforts, when the issue of the missing Chibok girls was discussed at the plenary of the House.
He argued that security agents involved in the war against Boko Haram insurgency would have a sense of urgency on the need to rescue the girls with a target date to actualise the goal.
Dogara who commended the security agents over successes so far recorded against the Islamist group expressed optimism that the missing girls would be rescued and returned to the warm embrace of the parents and guardians.
The Lagos State House of Assembly urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts at locating and rescuing the children as promised.
The House, in a motion yesterday, said given the recent proof that the girls are alive, intensive rescue efforts were necessary to bring relief to their families.
The lawmaker representing Lagos Island Constituency II, Sola Giwa, who brought the matter to the floor of the House, said it was high time President Buhari directed the military and men of the Department of State Security (DSS) to take necessary steps to locate the girls to give confidence to the people.
The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, sympathised with the parents and families, school and the state government of the abducted girls two years on.