The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has urged the Federal Government to keep the parents of the abducted schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State updated on its effort to rescue the remaining 112 still in captivity.
Boko Haram terrorists stormed GGSS Chibok on April 14, 2014, forced 276 girls into a truck and moved towards the Sambisa Forest.
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Few of the girls escaped while over 100 were later released through negotiations over time and reunited with their families. But about 112 are still in captivity.
Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District in the Senate, told journalists in Abuja that periodic update on the rescue mission would make the parents of the girls feel unforgotten and know what is going on.
He said: “It is seven years since the Chibok girls were abducted.
“Up till today, 112 of them are not accounted for. We hear stories but I am glad that the government issued a statement that they have not forgotten and that they are following the case.
“But I want to call on the government to be giving the parents and the public update either on monthly or quarterly basis on the effort that they are making so that we will know what is going on.
“The government should identify the parents of the remaining 112 missing girls, so that through the state government or whatever channel, the government can be in touch with them and also assist them psychologically.”
He said the earlier the Federal Government does something in terms of providing more information as to the rescue and reconstruction efforts, the better.
Damaged facilities 7 years after
The lawmaker, however, lamented that the federal government was yet to reconstruct damaged facilities, especially the Government Girls Secondary School, in Chibok seven years after the Boko Haram insurgents attacked the town.
He, therefore, called on the federal government to, as a matter of urgency and national importance, rebuild the damaged facilities.
He said: “The Federal Government, up till now, seven years after the school was destroyed, has not been rebuilt. The Federal Government has not fulfilled its promise.
“In fact, the State Government is now struggling to take back the school from the Federal Government in order to rebuild it.
“And then there is a critical nerve road that facilitated the running away of these girls – the 40 kilometers long road between Chibok and Damboa.
“It has been in the Federal Government’s budget since I came to the National Assembly. 18 years now, the federal government could not finish it and that road is a critical access because if there is no accessibility, the military or the security agencies cannot be effective.
“So, these are the things we are calling on the Federal Government to look into as a matter of urgency or national importance because the issue of Chibok girls and the issue of Chibok itself and the parents of the girls sticks in the mind of not only Nigerians but the international community.”
‘Why Boko Haram attacked Damasak’
Senator Ndume said the Boko Haram terrorists’ attack on Damasak in Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno last Saturday was as a result of insufficient number of troops on ground.
During the attack, six people lost their lives, while many soldiers were wounded and United Nations Hub housing all the workers of the international organisation destroyed.
“We thank God there’s the presence of a Taskforce Brigade in Chibok but the other areas that the insurgents are because they are in the border of Sambisa, the other areas like Kautikari-Pemi that you hear of incessant attacks there are no solders there.
“And what is responsible for this is because, as I have been saying, we don’t have enough soldiers on ground.
“What happened in Damasak now is not because of anything but because the soldiers there are not enough.”