Dapchi schoolgirls’ abductions: Any lessons? By ADEWALE Kupoluyi

I once asked a close ally why she hardly watches of monitors the news. The answer that she gave was simply that, there is nothing positive or good that ever comes out in the news.
She maintains that what we get to hear, watch or read in the news is one bad story or another. I was discussing with this same person when reports fi ltered in that about 110 schoolgirls have been abducted in Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists! Should the media be blamed for all the negative stories? I don’t think so.
The media are simply performing their multi-faceted roles in the society. Theories like the cultivation analysis, development media, spiral of silence, media logic, symbolic interactionism and the agenda-setting, among others, have attempted to interrogate the place of the media in our modern day world.
Eye witness accounts say a convoy of at least 12 to 15 vehicles was used in the dastardly act to criminally abduct students of Government Girls Science and Technology College, Dapchi while few lucky ones escaped. Many factors could have encouraged the dastardly act that beat the nation’s security apparatus, hands-down.
According to the Yobe State governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, soldiers stationed at strategic checkpoints in Dapchi, were recently redeployed leaving only uniformed police to protect the town.
A critical look at the nature of the attacks would convey a trend that clearly points to the fact that Boko Haram terrorists always prefer women as their targets because ‘they have a high value as hostages’. What lessons did we learn from previous attacks? What use was made of the intelligence report at the disposal of the state governor?
It is curious to note that the Dapchi attacks happened about four years after the same Boko Haram insurgents invaded a female school in Chibok and taken into captivity, over 200 girls, out of which about 100 are still missing till date.
I don’t know why the Yobe State government was not proactive enough to avert this calamity by simply asking the students to quit the hostel, if the state was unable to provide alternative security arrangements following the withdrawal of military from the area. The decision to withdraw the entire battalion was certainly unwise and a miscalculation.
Furthermore, the environment of the school in question is terrible for any student to study and learn properly. It is only hoped that the abductions were not an effort carried out to score cheap political goals against the Federal Government.
The reasons for this thinking are twice-fold: Firstly, why is this coming almost at the same time when the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari administration has about one year to go?
This reminds us, again, the way Chibok schoolgirls were abducted at the tail end of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. We recall that at the initial stage, the authorities disclosed that none of the schoolgirls was missing, but only for the military and the state government to later claim that the military had rescued some students. To be sincere, the whole story has been marred by contradictions and inconsistencies.
The response of the both the state and federal governments have not been too impressive. It is only hoped that the 12-man panel, headed by Rear Admiral Victor Adedipe committee that was put in place to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the innocent girls would come out with meaningful and useful findings that would gladden the hearts of people such as the one earlier mentioned above that always blamed the media for spreading ‘bad’ news.
The Dapchi abductions should not be allowed to linger on in the manner that the Chibok schoolgirls’ episode took place without any clues till date on the way out. The girls must be rescued without further delay.
The international community should urgently intervene on humanitarian grounds, to save these children from imminent dangers in the hands of terrorists while appreciating the advocacy of individuals and local groups.
The Federal Government should restrategise and admit that the fight against insurgency has not been totally won, as they’ll want us to believe. For now, hostel and boarding schools should be suspended in the northeast because of insurgency.
Since the abductions of the schoolgirls, their colleagues, parents, guardians and sympathisers from all over the world have been keeping vigil and hoping for their safe release. It is such a traumatic experience that no one ever prays to witness.
I’m sure the plight of the captured girls could be more pathetic in terms of the mental and psychological torture they would be passing through in the hands of their abductors.
That is why a repeat should never be allowed. What the government owes Nigerians is the immediate rescue and safe liberation of both the captured Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls.
Aside Borno and Yobe, other northern states should wake up from their slumber and be more security-conscious. The use of intelligence is imperative. Religious and traditional rulers should join forces to fight terrorism because it has become apparent that government cannot do it alone. The missing schoolgirls must be rescued.

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