Hadiza Usman, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), says many questions need to be answered in relation to the recent abduction of 110 school girls from Dapchi Yobe State, stressing that no school in the North East should be left without security.
Usman is a co-founder of the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) campaign group and participated in the groups daily sit-outs at the unity fountain in Abuja until her appointment into the NPA.
She described the Dapchi abduction as a very sad development that sets the nation miles back in the counter-insurgency operation.
“You know, we have seen (some of the Chibok) girls being returned, girls being rescued, and attendant reduction in the activities of Boko Haram. But this abduction has set us back and there are things that we need to ask,” Usman told Premium Times during an interview.
“There are questions that need to be answered. For example, how can you have a boarding, lets not even say that it is a girls’ school, how do you have a school not being protected as it should? Even if it is a day school. How do you have a boarding school, girls boarding school, not being protected as it should?
“So, there are many questions that we need to ask. Having experienced what we did with the Chibok girls, we cannot now have a similar situation existing in the same environment -the school is not secured, no military deployed in that situation, I think a committee has been set up so we look forward to what it is they are going to tell us.
“I would say this is a huge step back and it questions quite a lot of things that we should have put in place to prevent a recurrence. You cannot have our schools unprotected. You cannot have boarding schools unprotected in the north east as these are soft targets.”
However, Usman noted that the Federal Government did not try to deny that some girls ere abducted, unlike the Goodluck Jonathan administration that at first refused to accept the Chibok kidnap and the seriousness of the insurgency.
“One of the issues around Chibok girls and the abduction in 2014/15 is to do with the seeming denial of the government of accepting that an abduction has happened. Seeming denial of the extent of the insurgency,” she said.
“So to the extent that now you see there is recognition and acceptance that yes people were abducted, recognition and acceptance that yes, we need to work on rescuing these girls, work on the abduction status and also investigate how it could happen, having claimed that we have made significant milestone in achieving reduction in insurgency.”