*As it set up a12-man probe panel
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – THE Federal Government said Wednesday that there were still conflicting reports on the actual number of students abducted from Government Girl’s Science Technical College, Dapchi,Yobe State, recently by Boko Haram terrorists.

Hassana Mohammed, 13, who scaled a fence to escape an alleged Boko Haram attack on her Government Girls Science and Technical College, stands outside her home in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018.
Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists. Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said “some of the girls” had been rescued by troops “from the terrorists who abducted them”. But on a visit to Dapchi on Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction. / AFP PHOTO /

The National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Mungusum, Rtd, who said this while inagurating a 12- man committee to unravel the circumstances leading to the kidnap of the school girls, tasked the committee not only to unravel the actual number of abducted girls but also their identity.

He described the abduction as worrisome, saying it was an embarrassment to the country at large.

“The committee is to determine the exact number of persons abducted alongside their identity as there are conflicting reports in this regard, to confirm the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security emplaced in Dopchi, as well as the school itself before the incident, “he said.

The NSA added:”The abduction of the school girls by the terrorists is a worrisome incident that requires deliberate, urgent and relentless efforts on the part of government.
“There has been conflicting reports from various quarters on the event that led to the abduction, the number of persons abducted, as well as their identity.

“This does not portray the country in good light. There have also been reports, especially in the social media which tends to support some level of inactivity by relevant organizations.

“Therefore, there is a need to verify the circumstances surrounding the abduction of these girls from the Government Girls Secondary School.”

According to him, “for the avoidance of doubt, I will quickly re-emphasis that the terms of reference of the committee are as follows: to determine the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the students from the school on the 18thof February.”

Other terms of reference includee “to determine the exact number of persons abducted alongside their identity as there are conflicting reports in this regard, to confirm the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security emplaced in Dopchi, as well as the school itself before the incident.”

They also include “to ascertain the existing communication in the Dapchi and their functionality.

“To suggest measures that can lead to the location and immediate rescue of the abducted girls.

“To recommend measure to be emplaced in preventing future occurrences, any other detail the committee may deem necessary.”

Mungonu added that “considering the importance of the issue and the urgency required to promptly address the terms of reference and associated concerns, you are to commence sitting immediately and submit your report to me in two weeks time.

“I, therefore, implore members of the committee to be objective in their findings in order to address this ugly development.

“I must emphasis here also that there is a lot of cynicism outside in the wider society.

“This is not the first time such incident has taken place. On the 14th of April, 2014, a lot of girls were abducted from a secondary school in Chibok.

“A committee was set by the previous administration to look into the circumstances that led to the abduction of those girls.

“What I want to emphasis to you is that this investigation has to be done with all the seriousness it deserves.

“This is not going to be another exercise in futility. We are using the money of tax payers to carry out this assignment and they are entitled to getting results for whatever this committee does.

“Again, the inclination to push things under the carpet, to be sympathetic to groups or organizations will not be tolerated.

“You must unravel everything. Where people are culpable, it should come out in your report.

He informed the committee that “the report also will be followed by a white paper. The president is extremely concerned about this incident which I have already told you, is beginning to cast a dark shadow on not just the administration but the country.

“The truth of the matter is that security is all embracing. It is not just for agencies of government.

“There is always an interface between the wider society and security agencies, especially in the context of the 21st century issues of insecurity. This time around, your work is going to permeate into the population not just in Yobe state, probably in Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe states and so on and so forth.”

He added that “the basic motivation in this very exercise is to get result. I want results; this is not just going to be something theoretical, paper or suggestions that will end up on someone desk without anything happening.

“We must let the people of Nigeria know that we have taken this incident with all the seriousness it requires and we are going to solve this problem.

“I wouldn’t want a situation whereby you are going to be suppressed by any individual, any group or organisation or agency because we are not going to allow anybody to cover up anything in this matter.

“These are people’s children, our children and we must be seen to be doing the right thing.”

Speaking, Chairman of the committee, Real Admiral Victor Adedipe assured the NSA of the commitment of the members to ensure that the findings are authentic and unbiased.

Adedipe stated that given the current plight of the families, the committee will put in its best to unravel the circumstances that lead to the kidnapping of the school girls.

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