Aisha Yesufu, Co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign (BBOG), has criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration over its negotiation technique for the release of the abducted Dapchi school girls.
Speaking in an interview, Yesufu faulted the government’s approach to broker the release of over 100 students of the Government Girls Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe State, abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, while leaving Leah Sharibu in their captivity.
According to the activist, the government should be embarrassed that it was unable to secure the teenage Sharibu’s freedom due to perceived religious differences held by the terrorists.
Yesufu also decried that the abduction of the Dapchi girls occurred four years after a similar situation occurred in which 276 students were kidnapped from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.
She stated that it was inexcusable that the security architecture of the country had allowed such re-occurrence to happen, thereby putting many families in grief.
“We really should be ashamed of ourselves. It is the shame of a nation. How would our government ‘negotiate’ and then leave a girl behind? How did that happen? Is it because she refused to become a Muslim? Must she be a Muslim?” Yesufu told the Punch. “Now she has spent her second year in captivity and I saw as some people congratulated her for holding on to her faith. She is not looking for their congratulations; she wants to be back home with her family.
“There are some people making comparison and I ask them if it is a good thing for them to compare. This government should be ashamed of itself that the same thing that happened in Chibok happened again in Dapchi. How come all the security people were taken out of Dapchi hours before the abduction? Who gave the order? How come that when the girls were taken through all the security stops, there was no one available to stop the vehicle taking hundreds of girls away? Sadly, Nigeria is not a country that asks questions.
“People say that when the Dapchi incident happened, the President quickly brought the girls back, is that an achievement? Is that the reason why they were taken? There are so many questions that need to be answered by this administration.”
Yesufu added that guts given to the terrorists by the government to return some of the Dapchi girls triumphantly was an aberration, which she said would create an impression at onlooking teenagers about terrorism being a positive act.
“One of the most heinous things that happened under this administration is that these terrorists were given access to bring back the girls. At that moment, the Nigerian government ceded power to the terrorists and you could see in the video that surfaced the way young men were cheering the terrorists. Teenagers are easily impressionable and you have no idea how many of them may have been recruited,” she said.
The BBOG campaigner remarked that the Dapchi and Borno abductions depict and the immediate response depicts the Federal Government as not being concerned about the plight of ordinary Nigerians.
She said: “It is very saddening and heartbreaking that these girls were abducted and 112 of them are still in captivity. Despite the fact that they are in captivity, there seems to be some sort of negligence on the part of the government towards the issue of the girls and the parents of the girls that are still in captivity, and that for me is absolutely not acceptable because what it says is the fact that as Nigerians, we are not important to our government and they do not care about us.
“It is sad that when things happen to some people, others feel it is not their business because the victims are not from their demography, region or ethnic group. They forget that it can happen to anybody and as far as the Chibok girls are in captivity, we all are in captivity.”