Yobe School Girls Abduction: Yobe Govt Apologises for Misinformation as FG Delegation Asks for Time to Ascertain True Position

The Yobe State Government has apologised over a press statement it made on Wednesday night claiming that soldiers rescued some of the school girls allegedly abducted by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe Monday night.
Army denied knowledge of the rescue.
A government statement late on Wednesday had indicated that many of the missing girls had been freed by soldiers, a statement that turned out to be false.
The state government said Thursday that it was misinformation.
The apology stated: “The public may recall that we issued a statement last night in which we announced that some of the girls at Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi who went missing after Boko Haram terrorists had stormed their school last Monday were rescued by officers and men of the Nigerian Army who are currently executing the war against the Boko Haram Insurgents.
“We issued the statement on the basis of information provided by one of the security agencies that is involved in the fight against Boko Haram and which we had no reason to doubt.
“We have now established that the information we relied on to make the statement was not credible.
“The Yobe State Government apologises for that.
“His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Gaidam was in Dapchi today where he met with community leaders and the Principal and staff of the Girls’ College. The Governor also addressed the parents of some of the schoolgirls that are still unaccounted for where he told them to pray and exercise patience as the government and security agencies at all levels continue the work to address the unfortunate situation.
“His Excellency Governor Gaidam has also directed Education Ministry officials and the school administration to work closely with the security agencies to establish the actual number of the girls that are still unaccounted for and to contact parents and the community for possible information that could be useful in the investigation.
“His Excellency Governor Gaidam shares deeply and personally in the grief about the unfortunate event at the Girls’ College and, under his leadership, the Yobe State Government will continue to do everything necessary in partnership with security agencies and the federal government to address the situation.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday said the Nigerian government would need more time to assess the situation around the community where some schoolgirls were reportedly kidnapped in Yobe State on Monday.
“On the issue of the number of missing girls, we cannot give what we are not sure of, until we hear from their parents, we cannot say this is the number,” Mohammed told reporters shortly after he arrived at Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Thursday afternoon. “Give us a few more time please”.
Mohammed was among the three ministers that President Muhammadu Buhari asked on Wednesday to embark on an immediate fact-finding mission to the state.
Scores of girls are reported missing following a Boko Haram attack on the school Monday night. Conflicting accounts of both state and federal officials over the crisis have further confused and worsened the anxieties of parents and other citizens.
Mohammed’s comments that the Buhari administration cannot immediately give any details about the situation came a day after the state government said some of the kidnapped girls have been rescued and handed over to the Nigerian Army
But that account now seems to be in dispute, as the Defence Headquarters said the alleged rescue could not be confirmed.
“We cannot confirm” the statement by Yobe State that some of the girls have been rescued, Defence spokesperson, John Agim, said Thursday morning.
Similarly, a federal lawmaker who represents the community said the report that girls were rescued was untrue.
“The military did not rescue any girls yesterday as being reported in the media,” Goni Bukar, the lawmaker representing Bursari/Geidam/Yunusari federal Constituency, noted. .
“I can tell you that no girls were rescued,” he added.
“We have only been able to locate some girls in one or two batches at different places.”
Information Minister arrived at the community with Khadijat Bukar-Ibrahim, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Governor of Yobe State was on ground to receive the team. The Theatre Commander, Operations Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas, , was also on the scene.
The Minister and his entourage were briefed by the governor and the General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Damaturu.
Shortly after the briefing, Mohammed told reporters that he was delegated by the President to visit the attacked community and commiserate with the victims.
He said his delegation which also includes a representative of the Minister of Defence, was also to find out the true situation about the missing school girls.
On the issue of the missing students, the Minister said it is still too early to determine their whereabouts.
“We are still monitoring the situation and what I want people to understand is that since two days ago some of the students who fled to neighbouring towns and communities had returned and more have been returning.
“When we arrived here we have been briefed by the governor and the GOC about the situation of the students. We know there are few students who are yet accounted for, but we don’t want to manufacture stories on this issue. But give us few days, we will be able to tell you exactly the real situation of things.”

Author: News Editor

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