Parents of the abducted schoolgirls in Dapchi, Yobe State, said they regretted not being allowed “enough time” to deliver their message to President Muhammadu Buhari who visited Wednesday.
Mr. Buhari on Wednesday met with the parents in their community.
The president said his administration’s approach to the recent abduction was ”much better” than the response of the Goodluck Jonathan government to a similar abduction of female students in Chibok in 2014.
Mr. Buhari said while his government faced the challenge headlong, the Jonathan administration chose to ”look the other way” when the Chibok girls were kidnapped.
“The Federal Government’s response to the unfortunate abduction of the school girls is a clear departure from the insensitivity of the past administration which looked the other way while the Chibok girls were taken away in 2014 and held in captivity for over 3 years,” Mr. Buhari said.
The president was first in the Yobe State capital, Damaturu, where he visited the government and people of the state over the abduction of the schoolgirls in Dapchi, a village 101km away from the state capital.
The president also visited Dapchi village where he met with the parents of the missing schoolgirls.
But the parents told PREMIUM TIMES they were not allowed enough time to lay the case before the president.
Mr. Buhari’s visit came three weeks after the abduction of the girls by Boko Haram gunmen who invaded the village on February 19.
In Damaturu, Mr. Buhari was received by the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, and members of the state traditional council, led by Emir of Fika, at the government house Damaturu.
The governor commended the federal government’s prompt response and concern over the incident at Dapchi.
He pleaded for synergy amongst the security operatives especially in the area of security and intelligence gathering.
Mr. Buhari, who was accompanied by the ministers of defence, information and culture as well as interior, said his visit to the state was to sympathise with the parents, families and the government of Yobe State over the attack.
He also spoke on the unending Boko Haram challenge.
PRESIDENT MEETS DAPCHI PARENTS
President Buhari and the ministers as well as the governors of Borno and Yobe states arrived Dapchi at about 4.00 p.m. to be received by some of the parents of the missing schoolgirls and leaders of the community.
The principal of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi and ‘leader’ of the parents briefed the president on how the attack happened.
The president then addressed the parents who gathered in one of the halls within the school premises.
“By God’s grace we will do everything to bring peace in our land. We have promised Nigerians that we will do our best to combat corruption in our land, and we are doing that.
”One of our major challenge in this country is the issue of security especially in the North-east where a group called Boko Haram has been terrorising people, killing and maiming innocent lives, forcing young girls and children to become suicide bombers – killing themselves and innocent people. They have attacked communities, places of worships, including churches and mosques, markets, security posts and so on.
“By the grace of God we have directed all our troops within and outside, the army and the air force and well as the naval forces and other security agencies, to do all that is possible and see that the missing girls are rescued and returned to you.”
Bashir Manto, the chairman of missing Dapchi girls’ parents, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview that they were not happy that the president did not have ”enough time to discuss with them”.
He however said they were comforted with the fact that the president is a “man of integrity” and would take him on his promises that he would not rest until the girls are rescued.
“Though we were not given enough time to deliver our message to the president, our biggest concern is that he should do all that he could to see that our girls are rescued in good time and brought home to us.”
On how they felt about the president’s visit, Mr. Manto said: “we are pleased that the president has come to show his concern about the plight that befell us. Since he is a leader known for his justness and integrity, we know whatever he told us would be devoid of politics or any form of deception.”