Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has welcomed the release of some of the schoolgirls freed by Boko Haram on Wednesday morning four weeks after they were kidnapped from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State.
In a press statement released by his media office in Abuja on Wednesday, Atiku said he was gladdened by the return of the girls and expressed joy that some families who had been heartbroken will now have the tears wiped from their faces, as will other Nigerians who were distressed by the kidnappings.
“This is a moment of joy for all of us as a nation,” he said. “We may not all be in Dapchi at the moment but we are all celebrating with the families, the community and the entire Yobe State.”
Atiku, however, noted that the grief of the parents whose daughters weren’t returned would probably take on a new and more tormenting dimension, as they continue to wait and pray for their safe return.
“May God continue to strengthen and give them hope,” he said.
According to the statement, the former Vice President believes that while the events of today are fresh in our heads, a call for a more permanent solution to the problem of kidnapping of girls from schools should be found.
He proposed several ideas including the immediate reassignment of 150,000 Nigerian police personnel to secure schools in volatile areas of the northeast. In addition, the government should look at redesigning schools to make them more secure from attack including the addition of safe rooms.
“We cannot continue to allow our daughters to be used as instruments of negotiation, subject to capture and release at the whim of any group,” he said.
“For the sake of our youth who embody the best of our tomorrow, we must confront this Frankenstein monster. Working together as a Nation we can and must bring an end to this. Not a day must be wasted in finding solutions. We must make it safe so our girls and women in every part of the country can study and flourish in peace”.