Realising that the only Dapchi girl still in Boko Haram captivity was not released contrary to what he earlier said Nigerians may expect, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has attempted to walk back his statement by claiming he was misquoted.
Mr. Idris had on Saturday afternoon said Leah Sharibu, the Christian girl whom Boko Haram refused to free with her schoolmates earlier this week, may be released before the end of the day.
He made the statement at the headquarters of the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri as he concluded his two-day tour of the three states in the North-east.
“I am supposed to go to Dapchi today, but because I learnt that that schoolgirl, Leah, may be released today, that was why I have to shelve my trip to the town,” Mr. Idris said.
“It is very understandable that in such circumstance one does not create too much security presence in the area in a manner that it could sabotage the efforts being made there.
“You know, I move with helicopter, and by the time I fly into the area they (Boko Haram) may think I break the understanding they may have there. So I have to postpone the visit to Dapchi,” he added.
But the girl has not been released as at the time of this report.
By Sunday morning, the police media office issued a statement to muddle up what Mr. Idris said and pass the blame on the media.
“The Statement of the IGP was misunderstood and misquoted,” said police spokesperson Jimoh Moshood in a Sunday morning statement to PREMIUM TIMES.
“The misunderstanding may be as a result of the already released Dapchi school girls expected back home in Yobe State today but could not arrive due to weather condition.
“The IGP could not also proceed to Dapchi because of same weather condition. The Force wishes the members of the public and the media disregard the purported statement as not what the IGP meant.”
The I-G was not the only one to anticipate release of Miss Sharibu.
Her father, Sharibu Nathan, had earlier confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that he had received “the good news” that the girl and her abductors were on their way to Dapchi on Saturday.
The chairman of the abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls, Bashir Manzo, also confirmed that Leah was being brought back.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported that residents of Dapchi had deserted the streets after learning that Boko Haram were approaching towards the community to return the schoolgirl, whom Boko Haram is reportedly holding because she declined to renounce her Christian faith.
Mr. Moshood admitted that the I-G might not have had any credible information that he relied on before commenting on the botched release.
“The Force therefore reiterates that it has no information yet on the release of the last Dapchi school girl,” he said. “This release should be taken as the true position of the IGP’s statement.”
Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, used the police denial to slam the Buhari administration as confused.
“Under this President Muhammadu Buhari led government, confusion now reigns supreme.” Mr.. Fayose said in a Sunday evening statement by his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka.
Mr. Fayose said it was embarrassing that Mr. Idris could come on national television to deceive Nigerians by giving information that he was not sure of, adding that; “Nigerians can now see why it is advisable to check their calendar when President Buhari and his men say what the date is.”
The governor said; “If the IGP does not have correct information on activities of the Boko Haram insurgents at his fingertips, it goes to show the level of confusion that has taken over this their government and one can appreciate the position expressed by former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. T. Y. Danjuma that Nigerians should take total responsibility for the security of their own lives and properties because as it is, a government that is confused even at the level of its security agencies cannot protect its citizens.”
He described the recant of the IGP statement by the Nigeria Police Force as highly embarrassing, saying; “What the IGP said was unambiguous. He said on Channels Television loud and clear that he was scheduled to travel to Dapchi but shelved the trip so as not to jeopardise the release of Leah Sharibu.
“So, where is the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of what the IGP said? How can Dapchi residents’ anxious wait for the safe return of the already released girls be the reason for the IGP to say that he learnt the remaining girl will be released on Saturday?”