Joshua Lidani, senator representing Gombe south, says the country is empowering Boko Haram insurgents by paying ransom for abducted persons.
Lidani who said this on Thursday while contributing to a debate on motion on the missing schoolgirls in Dapchi, Yobe state, stated that measures should be put in place to ensure that schools, particularly those for girls, are secured.
“We need to be very proactive in this case because the idea of sitting down to always negotiating and paying ransom with this action, we are empowering the Boko Haram so that they would continue to do more,” he said.
“This may not be the end of it because after this, if they have abducted these girls, they will demand ransom and if the ransom is paid, it means they would continue to engage in this.
“But the most worrisome aspect is the fact that at times like this, whenever we are faced with this kind of situation, the nation ought to hear from the president. He ought to say something. When there were killings in the United States in a school, the president himself went to that school to sympathise with the students.
“He ought to utter words of sympathy he ought to come on television and say one thing or the other. It would bring comfort to those who are in distress. People will have the feeling that the president has them in his heart.”
Moving the motion earlier, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, senator representing Yobe east, noted that there has been no case of killing.
“Nobody is sure if it was a case of abduction or some of the girls who ran home have not yet come back,” Ibrahim said.
“These are yet to be confirmed. The federal government has already sent a high power delegation; three ministers to go and stay in Damaturu and report to Mr. President on a continuous basis until the matter is resolved.”
Contributing to the debate, Ahmed Lawan, senate leader, commended Ibrahim Geidam, Yobe governor, for ensuring that families of the missing girls were comforted.
“What happened is a lesson for us. That Boko Haram sees girls or women as value targets. What they did in Chibok earned them some funds, because negotiations were held somehow and they got a lot of money,” Lawan said.
“Now, the lesson is, we need to be extra careful and take extraordinary measures in protecting our schools; especially girls’ schools, in those states especially Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.”
But when Hassan Mohammed, senator representing Yobe south, got up to speak, he said it was “disheartening” to hear Lawan commend the state government.
“This is the primary responsibility of the government; to protect the lives and properties of its citizen,” he said.
“The state government of Yobe has serially failed in this regard. It has abdicated its primary responsibility in doing that.”
But Lawan got up to challenge him citing order 53 (7) of the senate rules.
“If my colleague doesn’t see those reasons and he has his perspective, he doesn’t have to refer to me that what I said is not in order. I have my facts, he has his facts. I will advise, that he states his fact without making reference to me,” he said.
The senate further urged the federal government to recover the girls so that it would be another case of the Chibok girls.