Dapchi Residents Stone Governor Gaidem’s Car Over Missing Schoolgirls

Some aggrieved residents of Dapchi, headquarters of Busari local government area of Yobe state, attacked Ibrahim Gaidam, governor of the state, on Thursday.

They not only booed the number one citizen of the state but threw stones and dangerous objects at his convoy, resulting in the destruction of some vehicles.

Gaidam had gone to the community to inform the people that the students kidnapped from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, have not been rescued.

Boko Haram fighters stormed the school on Monday, seizing an unknown number of students.

On Wednesday, the governor said the army had rescued some of the students.

“Some of the students of Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) whose school was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists last Monday have been rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army,” he said in a statement which Abdullahi Bego, his spokesman, issued on his behalf.

“The rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian Army. We will provide more details about their number and condition in due course.”

But on Thursday, he informed the people of the reality on ground.

TheCable learnt that the governor arrived the community before noon and immediately went into a meeting with traditional leaders at the palace of the village head.

He was said to have taken the leaders into confidence but they agreed that he should also address the crowd which had gathered outside.

“When Gaidam began speaking, we were calm. We followed all that he said with assurances that the situation was under control,” Abdullahi Dapchi, a resident of the town who said two of his sisters were among the captives, told TheCable.

“But we got suspicious when he began dribbling us. You know how these politicians are. He said we should cooperate with the government that they were doing their best. We asked him about the situation and he said none of the students had been rescued.

“At that point, some parents broke down in tears, some even collapsed and before you knew it, the atmosphere was chaotic. The governor had to be ferried away by his security operatives but the mob went after the vehicles in his convoy.

“The peace that we have been enjoying in this community was disrupted.”

Dapchi said it took the intervention of soldiers, who fired shots into the air, for the crowd to disperse.

He said moments after the troops left, some residents gathered again but this time around they started protesting.

“They blocked major roads, chanting anti-government songs and placing curses on Boko Haram,” he said.

“They demanded the immediate release of the students and said they were not interested in how government would achieve that.”

TheCable learnt that the protest did not gather momentum because attention had shifted to the school where Gaidam, under tight security, was awaiting the arrival of the delegation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Three ministers – Lai Mohammed (information), Mansur Dan Ali (defence) and Khadija Bukar Abba, minister of state for foreign affairs – later arrived in two helicopters.

They met with the governor and had a brief discussion with the media.

Appealing to family members of the captive to exercise patience with government, Mohammed said the freedom of the girls would remain a priority.

He said the actual number of the missing schoolgirls would be known when parents come forward with complaint of their wards.

“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,” he said.

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