Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that the ruling All Progressives Congress did not do enough to protect the schoolgirls who were kidnapped from their hostel in Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, describing the failure as carelessness.
Atiku, who responded to questions from ThisDay via email, expressed disappointment that the government failed to use the 150,000 policemen attached to VIPs to protect vulnerable school children in the North-East.
“Let me paraphrase Oscar Wilde and say that to lose one set of girls to Boko Haram may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose another set, looks like carelessness. As an opposition party, the APC was vocal to the point of exploiting the issue of the Chibok girls’ kidnapping. They did not cut the Jonathan administration any slack.
“They criticised that government every step of the way and some may even claim that they undermined the then government’s efforts at resolving that unfortunate incident. So, it is rather surprising that a set of people who were so unsparing in their critique of the previous government would be in a situation whereby they have allowed these same terrorists to kidnap 110 girls,” Atiku said.
When the former APC chieftain, who resigned from the ruling party last November, said he would have acted differently, if he was in charge; “What would I have done differently? Recently, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Mike Okiro, revealed that 150,000 policemen were guarding various elites and those we know as ‘big men’.
“If I had my way, I would have recalled all of those 150,000 policemen who are not performing core police duties and send them to provide security for every school in the North-East region. That to me would be a better use of their time and services.
“We already know that Boko Haram has an agenda to cripple Western education in Nigeria. So, how could we have left those schools unguarded? Why should the police be guarding VIPs who can afford personal guards and leave vulnerable girls unguarded?
“We are spending billions trying to encourage girls to go to school only to allow them be abducted by terrorists. I condemn these abductions and I urge the federal government to take firm action to ensure that it would never reoccur in Nigeria.”