The Senate on Thursday summoned the National Security Adviser (NSA) and security chiefs to brief it on efforts to rescue Government Secondary School girls abducted two ago at Chibok, Borno.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that over 200 girls from the school were abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014.
The order on the NSA and all security chiefs to appear at the senate followed a motion by Sen. Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) which was co-sponsored by three other senators.
After a unanimous adoption of the motion, the senate urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the release of the girls and that security agencies should do everything possible to rescue them.
It also urged the Federal Government to take over the rebuilding of the school to alleviate the sufferings of students.
The upper chamber sympathised with the parents of the girls and Chibok community, and Nigerians over the incident.
Presenting the motion earlier, Melaye said that besides the propaganda videos created by the Islamist militant group, none of the girls had been seen since their abduction.
He also pointed out that apart from the fact that some of the girls were yet to be rescued, the school where they were abducted was still unattended to.
The lawmaker said the abduction of the girls had greatly affected the image of the country in the international community.
“It is a harrowing feeling knowing that these girls are still under the mercy of such a violent group.
“I can only imagine the state of mind of the parents, guardians and relatives of the missing girls.
“I am concerned that the abduction has become a myth and their whereabouts an enigma.
“These girls have dreams and aspirations and in the eyes of God and the laws of man, they have every right to pursue such dreams.
“We cannot succeed as a government until those girls are released,’’ he said.
Contributing, Sen. Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna Central) decried the levity with which issues affecting the poor were treated in the country.
He said that measures would have been put in place to rescue the girls if they were from rich homes.
“There is a class nature to abduction in Nigeria; when the rich are abducted it takes few weeks to get them back. Why must it take two years to get the Chibok girls back?
“When the Federal Government is ready, I have a strategy and advice to give, a freelance journalist offered to get these girls out and we have not done anything.
“ Visiting Chibok and talking too much while the girls are in captivity will not help the situation. If we are not careful we will move from anniversary to anniversary,’’ he said.
Sani called on government to continue to use force and explore the possibility of dialogue for the release of the girls.
He added that their abduction had dented the image of the country in the fight against terrorism.
Minority Leader, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, commended the Federal Government for measures put in place so far to rescue the girls.
He also commended Melaye for the motion, saying that “by moving this motion today it clearly shows the concern the lawmaker has for the girls.’’
However, Akpabio urged the government to intensify effort to rescue the girls, maintaining that “for us to succeed as a nation, we must bring these girls back.’’
Sen. Rose Okoh (PDP-Cross River North) expressed concern over the condition of the girls, saying that they may have been violated and some may have died.
“If at this time we are still telling the world that we have no answer it seems that there is something amiss.
“We need to wake up from the lethargy with which we have treated this issue,’’ she said.
Okoh called on the Federal Government to do more to rescue the girls and other girls who had been abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists.
However, Sen. Ben Bruce (PDP-Bayelsa East), who was opposed to the payment of ransom for the release of the girls, advised security agencies to continue with other alternatives for their rescue.
He said that the insurgents may use such ransom to procure arms and continue with their despicable activities.
“I do not accept paying them to release the girls because they will use the money to buy more arms.’’
In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, blamed the police system in the country for the abduction of the girls.
“One reason this could happen is because of inadequate policing. This does not happen in U.S. or UK. We must begin to think about doing something.
“ Until we do something about the nature of police in the country, there is the possibility for it to happen in other places,’’ he said.
Ekweremadu described the abduction of the girls as disturbing, adding that Nigerians and the international community were asking when the girls would be rescued.
“I am happy we are talking about it to ensure that this national embarrassment is brought to an end.
“ I believe that by this time next year we will be celebrating the release and not anniversary of their abduction,’’ he said. (NAN)