Joshua Lidani, the senator representing Gombe South in the National Assembly, says the reason Boko Haram fighters continue to carry out attacks and abductions is that they are being empowered by the Federal Government.
Speaking at the floor of the senate on Thursday, Lidani insisted that by paying ransoms to the terrorists to secure the release of hostages, government indirectly empowers and emboldens them to carry out further attacks.
Lidani made the remarks while contributing to a motion raised by Bukka Ibrahim, a Yobe senator, urging the Federal Government not to handle the recent abduction of some schoolgirls in Dapchi the way the Goodluck Jonathan administration handled the Chibok case in 2014.
“We have observed of recent that this spate of kidnapping happens whenever Boko Haram members are being severely attacked or are on the run. They devise a means of abducting people so that they would negotiate with the Federal Government for ransom,” Lidani said.
“It happened with the recent abduction of some University of Maiduguri staff that were on an exploration mission. The government negotiated with them (insurgents) and they got money. Now, they have been empowered. Even on police officers’ wives, the Federal Government went and negotiated with them and they were given money.
“We need to be very proactive in this case because the idea of sitting down and always negotiating and paying ransom; we are empowering Boko Haram to continue to do more.
“This may not be the end of it because after this, if they have abducted these girls, they will demand ransom and if the ransom is paid, it means they would continue to engage in this.”
Lidani said that when tragedies like this occur, the President ought to address the nation to console the affected persons and reassure the people of his commitment to their security and well-being.
“Whenever we are faced with this kind of situation, the nation ought to hear from the President. He ought to say something,” Lidani said.
“When there were killings in the United States in a school, the President himself went to that school to sympathise with the students and the parents. But here, since the time of the Chibok girls, we have had killings, abductions and Mr. President ought to sympathise.
“He ought to utter words of sympathy; he ought to come on television and say one thing or the other. It will bring comfort to those who are in distress. People will have the feeling that the President has them in his heart.”
On Wednesday night, a Yobe State government spokesperson issued a statement saying some of the girls abducted fro Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi, had been rescued by soldiers. Residents also reported seeing soldiers as they celebrated the rescue at their base in Gaidam.
However, TheCable has since reported that Ibrahim Gaidam, Governor of Yobe State, visited Dapchi community and told the people that none of them had been rescued.
Also, John Agim, spokesman of the Nigerian Defence Headquarters, told Premium Times that the military could not confirm the earlier statement that some of the abducted girls had been rescued.