Yobe senators clash over missing school girls


Two senators representing Yobe State, Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) and Mohammed Hassan (Yobe South), Thursday clashed over the missing secondary school girls from the state.

The row started when Lawan, who is also the Senate Leader, praised President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ibrahim Geidam for ensuring that parents were comforted and sending Ministry of Education officials to take a head count in the attacked school.

Hardly had Lawan concluded his contribution of the missing school girls than Hassan sharply disagreed and insisted that Geidam did not deserve any praise, noting that instead of being praised, Geidam should be tackled for allegedly abdicating his duty as the state’s chief security officer.

Hassan’s attack did not go down well with Lawan. He said the Yobe South lawmaker should not link him (Lawan) with his comments.

Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, who is also from the state had in a motion told the Senate that on Monday, some suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked Government Girls Technical College in the state.

He noted that of 936 female students, who ran into the bush, 46 were still missing while 810 returned.

Ibrahim said: “I understand that the governor of Yobe State has already gotten the military to deploy military and police personnel.

“So far, there has been no case of killing. Nobody is sure if it was a case of abduction or some of the girls who ran home have not yet come back.

“These are yet to be confirmed. The Federal Government has already sent a high powered delegation; three ministers to go and stay in Damaturu and report to Mr. President on a continuous basis until the matter is resolved.

“So it means now that I wish that we resolve to condemn the attack on the school and the resurgence of insurgency.

“To urge the Federal Government to urgently recover, through the military, of course, the girls so as not to repeat the case of the Chibok girls in Borno State earlier.”

Lawan said: “What happened was unfortunate and after the Chibok incident, it was the wish of every Nigerian that it doesn’t happen again in the country. I want to, at this point, commend Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, for immediately taking action by directing the Armed Forces to move into Yobe to ensure that Boko Haram did not run away with any single girl.

“I want to also commend the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam, for ensuring that parents were comforted, for sending officials of the Ministry of Education to go round the families to ensure that they took head counts of the girls from that school.

“What happened is a lesson for us. That Boko Haram sees girls or women as value targets. What they did in Chibok earned them some funds, because negotiations were held somehow and they got a lot of money. Now, the lesson is, we need to be extra careful and take extraordinary measures in protecting our schools; especially girls’ schools in those states especially Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

“Yobe State spent over N15 billion supporting security agencies posted to the state. This is an indication that the state government is working in collaboration and cooperation with the Federal Government. I want to urge our state to continue to do that but the Federal Government should also do the needful.

“Our state is not those kinds of states that you get a lot of money and therefore, such funds should be refunded to them so that we will continue to provide the required security.”

Hassan disagreed. He said: “In 2013, a secondary school in Potiskum was attacked, where over 70 children were killed. A year after, another secondary school in Mamudu was attacked where school children were slaughtered. There was another attack in Yadin Buni where students were attacked, the state university too was attacked and now we have this one.

“This is quite disheartening to hear, with due respect to Senator Lawan, to commend the state government for serially failing to protect our students. This is the primary responsibility of the government; to protect the lives and properties of its citizen.

“The state government of Yobe has serially failed in this regard. It has abdicated its primary responsibility in doing that. Again, Mr. President….”

Lawan promptly raised Order 53 (7) to remind Hassan that “No senator, shall input improper motive to any other senator”.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekeremadu agreed with Lawan and said: “We send our deep concern to the governor and people of Yobe State. We are also aware that the military and the police are overstretched in all ramifications at this period of national insecurity. That is what makes the case a stronger case for another level of policing.

“If you are now asking the military and the police to provide security at all the schools, they cannot have the number to do so. There must be another level of policing to complement the Federal Government security infrastructure in order to be able secure all parts of Nigeria.”

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