The Yobe State Police Command says it was not informed by the army authorities that soldiers were pulling out of Dapchi shortly before the community was attacked by insurgents and 110 schoolgirls abducted.
This is in reply to a statement issued late on Monday by Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesperson of Operation Lafiya Dole, in which the army claimed that the withdrawal of troops from Dapchi was “done in tandem with the exigencies of operation”.
“Contrary to the comments being circulated, troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama following attacks on troops’ location at the Nigerian-Nigerien border,” said Nwachukwu.
“This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town.”
But Sumonu Abdulmalik, Commissioner of Police in Yobe State, said the army’s statement that Dapchi community was handed over to the police was “not correct and untrue”.
“There was no time that the military informed the police of their withdrawal, consult or handed over their locations in Dapchi town to the police,” Abdulmalik said.
“The whole of Yobe State is still under security emergency which the police, the military and other security agencies are battling to ensure lasting peace.
“Members of the public in Yobe State are implored to disregard and discountenance this claim that the military formally handed the security of Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police as untrue, unfounded and misleading.
“The Yobe State police command will continue to cooperate with other security agencies in ensuring safety and protection of lives and property of the people of the state.”
The attack on Dapchi community, the consequent abduction of 110 school girls, and the subsequent rhetoric and trading of blames by the government and security agencies bear striking resemblance to the events of April 2014, when Chibok community in Borno State was attacked by Boko Haram and over 200 girls abducted.
It took several weeks, and the setting up of a committee by the Federal Government, before the Presidency, under Goodluck Jonathan, came to terms that the incident actually took place.