The Social Democratic Party (SDP) says although it celebrates the return of the abducted Dapchi girls, it is questioning the circumstances of their abduction and subsequent return, Premium Times NG reports.
The party urged the government to address grey areas surrounding the abduction of the students and their subsequent return. It said it doubted whether the girls were kidnapped in the first place.
The SDP in a statement on Thursday joins the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party which had also earlier described the abduction as stage-managed, an allegation the presidency has refuted.
The party in a statement Thursday signed by Musa Gabam, its national secretary, said it is sad that some of the girls did not return.
About 104 of the 110 abducted girls from Dapchi were returned by Boko Haram on Wednesday. While five died during the captivity, one has been held back by the insurgents for reportedly refusing to convert to Islam.
The SDP said the kidnap in the first place is ”a display of incompetence from the government.”
It also questioned the credibility of ‘Mama Boko Haram’, a human rights activist, Aisha Wakil, who had earlier offered to get the girls back a few weeks ago. The party said the ”way the girls were returned” left room for scepticism.
“The circumstance of the return of the girls, the fact that they were dropped at the centre of the town by their alleged kidnappers, who then drove away, raises the question of whether the girls were actually kidnapped in the first place.
“We however note with pain and dismay that some of the girls are still in captivity. Equally sad and unacceptable is the fact that five of the girls lost their lives. These were needless deaths, occasioned by an avoidable abduction saga. That such a large number of girls could be kidnapped in broad daylight in a sovereign state exposes the nation and its security agencies to ridicule.
“It was through the inter-agency altercations that Nigerians became aware that Dapchi town was an “unmanned territory” at the time of the unfortunate incident. It is scandalous that a national government could display this level of incompetence and lack of grip.
“Could the APC government be playing a political game for cheap popularity, this time with the precious lives of peoples children? Why was “Mama Boko Haram” quick to publicly reassure the nation that the girls were in safe custody and under the protection of “her son” immediately. Why was she so sure of the condition of the girls and their location and why was she not arrested as an accomplice? These and many more questions are begging for answers,” the party said.
It also urged the government to declare if it paid ramsom for the return of the girls if they were indeed abducted.
“The greater concern, for now, is when the remaining girls will be returned. Was any ransom paid for the ones released? Will Nigerians later discover that huge swaths of national revenue have been spirited away into a 2019 election war chest in the name of Boko Haram and Dapchi girls? We fear the worst from the APC government of the day, because of its track record of perfidy.
The federal government has since said it paid no ransom for the girls.
“Issues of national security should not be handled with the lackadaisical attitude that has become the norm in Nigeria today. The primary purpose of government should not being served in the breach here.
“While we rejoice at the limited good news of the return of the girls and the marginal success of the Dapchi saga, we are quick to say that this is not good enough. The SDP maintains that our beloved country should be seen to be part of a 21st Century world that is defined by efficient institutions of state and effective national security.”
Premium Times NG