•Girls narrate how principal, teachers helped them to escape
•Say abductors came in army uniform, without boots
•Dapchi final year students to relocate to Nguru ahead of SSCE
•There’re still conflicting reports on number of girls, their identities — FG
By Victoria Ojeme & Omeiza Ajayi & Joseph Erunke with agency reports
YOBE—The attack on Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, by Boko Haram penultimate Monday, has begun taking its toll on education in the area, as some of the students who managed to escape abduction by the insurgents have said they would not return to school.
The five girls spoke with online portal, TheCable, as they arrived school to clear their personal effects.
In fact, one of the lucky students, Mariam Mohammed Miko, 15, said though she hoped to be a health technologist to be able to help her community, she was no longer returning to school.
This came as the Federal Government said, yesterday, that there were still conflicting reports on the actual number of students abducted from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, recently by Boko Haram terrorists.
Speaking in the same vein, Amina Abubakar Mohamadu, 15, who is the first of her parents’ three daughters, said though she would not completely withdraw from schooling, she won’t return to her present school.
‘’I can’t go back to that school because the time they came, they told us that they are coming again. They (Boko Haram) said this is the first time they are in that town, that they didn’t know there is school in that area, that if they knew, they would have done more than that. So now, as I know they are coming back, I cannot go back there.
She is, however, willing to go to another school.
Similarly, Fatima Mohammed Bilau, 15, the 10th child in a family of 27, shared similar fears about returning to school, stressing that for now, she had given up on education.
On her part, Yagana Mustapha, 14, said she would only return to school, if government provides adequate security.
“I will go back to school. But let the government protect us; let government provide security,’’ she said.
On her fellow students that ran into the car belonging to the insurgents, Yagana said: “They did not know they were not soldiers. They thought they will help them. That was why they entered the car. Some of them were crying and shouting.”
While she is grateful to God for her escape, she prayed for her friends’ return. She said: “I am happy to escape, but I feel sad for my friends and my wish for them is to come back.”
They came in unusual soldiers’ uniform
Narrating how the attack happened, another lucky student, Ajara Lawal, a 14-year-old SS2 student said at the school hostel that she came to pick some of her belongings.
“We heard gunshots. We were in the mosque. At first, we thought it was an explosion from the transformer. But the shooting continued, so all of us left the mosque and moved towards the school gate.
“When we got to the gate, we saw some people in soldiers’ uniform, but they didn’t look like soldiers, and then we ran back. Our principal was crying, she told us we were not safe that we should run towards the fence and run away,” she said.
Amina Abubakar Mohamadu, a 16-year-old, SS2 student, who has now returned to her father’s house in Damaturu, said she just had her dinner when the shootings started, adding that ‘’we all ran out, but the principal told us to start running, that we are not safe.”
In her account, Yagana Mustapha said she was one of the girls at the mosque when they heard the gunshots.
“We ran to the gate. Then they (Boko Haram) lied, saying Boko Haram was attacking the village. ‘Come, come, I want to help you,’’ she explained.
How we escaped
Ajara in her account of how the incident happened, recalled: “They were wearing soldiers’ uniforms and they said ‘Come, come, we are here to rescue you.’ I even stepped my leg into the car, but my elder sister called and said, ‘can’t you see that Allahu Akbar is written on their car,’ that was how I ran out.’’
Amina narrated her experience: “They deceived us. They came with three vans in army colours and they had army uniform, but they didn’t have army boots, that is how some of us identified them – through the slippers and their military trouser which did not touch the ground — three-quarter length.”
Yagana confirmed: “They wore soldiers uniform. I saw their car. They wrote Allahu Akbar on it. That is why I did not run into it.”
Sadia Mohammed Sanni, the third of 15 children, who said she wanted to be a doctor and currently in SS2, said: “Immediately the incident started, we started running. Our teachers helped us to cross the fence. I was raised to scale over the fence and ran to a neighbour’s house.’’
The distance the girls must have covered to scale over the school fence cannot be less than five kilometres, given the huge landmass of the school.
“We ran, ran,” Ajara, who spoke through an interpreter, gesticulated with her hand. “Almost five kilometres.”
“Our teachers tried for us. They helped us to climb the fence,” Yagana added.
Amina is still horrified by the experience. Her father, a civil servant in Damaturu, said in the past one week, she often jerks in her sleep.
Schoolgirl bitten by a snake
“I slept in the bush that night. One of my friends was bitten by a snake. Some ran into houses. The next day, the local government chairman of Babangida and Dapchi came to see us and brought some of us back to our parents,” she recalled.
The girls said a teacher had a miscarriage as a result of the rush, while another had a fracture.
The UN has expressed outrage at the abduction of 110 schoolgirls of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe, by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
UN outraged by Dapchi schoolgirls abduction – Guterres
Reacting to the attack and abduction of the Dapchi school girls, yesterday, Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN, Antonio Guterres, said in a statement by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, that he “strongly condemns the abduction and attack.”
Guterres said he was gravely concerned over the situation of the school girls and their abduction and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all the missing girls and for their safe return to their families.
The UN chief urged the Federal Government to swiftly bring those responsible for the dastardly act to justice.
He reiterated the solidarity and support of the UN to the federal government and other affected countries in the region in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
The UN had earlier described the abduction as “another horrific incident where young women and girls are targeted by terror groups.
“We very much hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, and just as importantly, that the girls will be found and returned to safety.
“I think the fact that these young women were abducted in an educational setting, where they should have been safe, just adds to the horror of the story,’’ Guterres said.
There’s still conflicting report on number of girls,their identities—FG
The National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Munguno, Retd, who said this while inaugurating 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 identities.
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 Dapchi, as well as the school itself before the incident.
”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 identities.
“This does not portray the country in good light. There have also been reports, especially in the social media which tend to support some level of inactivity by relevant organisations,” the NSA said.
Dapchi final year students to relocate to Nguru ahead of SSCE
Meantime, final year students of the college, will be temporarily relocated to Government Girls Secondary School, Nguru, to enable them prepare for the forthcoming senior secondary school certificate examination.
Yobe State commissioner for Education, Mohammed Lamin, disclosed this to TheCable, yesterday in Damaturu, the state capital.
“We are right now making arrangements for the SS3 students, to take them to GGSS Nguru, to prepare them for their examination which is coming up in March-April. The practical aspect of their exam will start around that time, and we don’t want them to miss any part of their examinations,” he said.
“Nguru is also a boarding school, but we are already taking steps to ensure security,” he said.
According to him, only SS3 girls of the over 900 students will be relocated for now.
FG Directs IGP, Civil Defence CG to Deploy Personnel in N’East schools
Meanwhile, The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, has directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC, Abdullahi Muhammadu Gana to relocate to the North East and liaise with the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, the governors of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states to ensure the deployment of their personnel in all schools in the liberated areas in the three states.
Press Secretary to the minister, Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday: “This is sequel to the recent visit of the Federal Government delegation, led by the Ministers of Interior and Information and Culture to Dapchi in Yobe State, where the Interior Minister, Lt General, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Retd), then directed the Commissioner of Police and the Commandant of the NSCDC in Yobe State to ensure security presence in all schools in the liberated communities.”