The Senate on Thursday urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts to ensure the safe return of all the 46 remaining schoolgirls abducted by insurgents in Yobe state.
This followed the adoption of a Point of Order raised by Bukar Ibrahim during plenary.
Mr Ibrahim, while commending security agencies over the safe return of some of the abducted schoolgirls, urged them to do more to ensure the return of the remaining missing girls.
The insurgents on Monday attacked Government Girls’ Science Technical College in Dapchi, Bursari Local Government Area, and abducted some of the students.
While the state government said that more than 50 students had yet to be accounted for, the police said the number was 30.
However, in a statement later on Wednesday night, the state government said some of the missing girls had been rescued.
Mr Ibrahim insisted that 46 students were still missing and condemned the attack on the school as well as the resurgence of insurgency.
According to him, there is a need for the Federal Government to urgently recover the girls in order not to repeat the Chibok girls’ experience.
The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, said ‘‘after the Chibok incident, it was the prayer and hope of every Nigerian that this kind of incident never happened again.’’
Mr Lawan commended both the federal and Yobe governments for taking immediate actions toward rescuing the girls.
He said there was a need to be proactive in protecting schools nationwide.
‘‘What happened is a lesson to us because insurgents see girls or women as targets so we need to be proactive and take extraordinary measures in protecting our schools, especially girls’ schools in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa,’’ he added.
Mr Lawan tasked the Senate Committee on Education to ascertain the status of the ‘Safe School Programme’, an internationally-funded programme, designed to protect schools.
On the contrary, Sen. Mohammed Hassan – (Yobe South) – said that the Yobe Government deserved no commendation.
He accused the state government of abdicating its primary responsibility of protecting lives.
‘‘School children have been abducted and are missing and you will be getting conflicting reports.
‘‘Today, the police will say 67 are missing, another agency of government will say another figure and that is why I strongly feel that the state government has abdicated this primary responsibility,’’ Mr Lawan said.
On his part, Joshua Lidani said that the Chibok incident should have sent a signal to the country that secondary schools, especially girls, were most vulnerable.
‘‘This spate of kidnapping happens whenever the insurgents are being severely attacked or they are on the run.
‘‘They will devise a means to abduct people so that they will negotiate with the Federal Government for ransom and this empowers them.
‘‘If government continues to pay ransom it means that the insurgents will continue with this kind of attack,’’Mr Lidan said.
In his remark, the Deputy President, of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said that the incident provided a reason for another level of policing.
‘‘We send our deep concern to the government and people of Yobe State.
‘‘We are aware that the military and indeed the police are overstretched to their limits at this period of insecurity.
‘‘That is what makes a stronger case for another level of policing because if you are now asking the military and the police to provide security in all the schools, they cannot have the number to do so.
‘‘There must be another level of policing that will complement the federal security structure in order to secure all parts of Nigeria and all the schools,’’ Mr Ekweremadu said.