The Federal Government of Nigeria has accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of “plumbing the depths of infamy” for saying the adoption and release of the Dapchi schoolgirls were stage-managed.
About 110 girls were kidnapped from their secondary school in Dapchi town of Yobe State by Boko Haram insurgents on February 18.
About 104 of the girls were however returned to their village by the insurgents Wednesday morning.
A boy and another girl, separate from the Dapchi schoolgirls, were also released, the government said.
The spokesperson of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, addressed a press conference on Wednesday where he accused the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) “and certain officials in the presidency” for staging the abduction of the schoolgirls for political purposes.
“Our party considers this act as wicked, callous and tormenting to use innocent schoolgirls as pawns in an ignoble script that was designed to hoodwink Nigerians and orchestrate a great rescue and security prowess of a conquering general, all to push a 2019 reelection bid, is an unpardonable gamble with human lives,” PDP said.
However, in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said such postulation portrays the PDP as an “inhuman, insensitive, unpatriotic and unworthy party”.
He said since the release of the Dapchi girls were negotiated by friendly countries and reputable international organizations, it would have taken a conspiracy of global proportion to have stage-managed the adoption and release of the girls.
Mr. Mohammed said the reaction of the PDP amounts to an expression of sour grapes, especially because, he said, the party failed woefully – when it was in power – to quickly resolve a similar abduction of schoolgirls.
Boko Haram had in 2014 invaded a school in Chibok, Borno State, taking away over 200 school girls. About 100 of the girls are still with the terror group.
”As we have said many times since the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls, no government is exempted from its own share of tragedies. What makes the difference is the way such tragedies are managed."
“Whereas it took the PDP all of 18 days to even acknowledge the abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014, the APC Federal Government acted promptly and responsively when the Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted 19 Feb. 2018, hence their quick release,” the minister said.
The minister also said it is unfortunate that the PDP that “failed woefully” as a ruling party has also failed grievously as an opposition party, going by its insensitive and crude response to the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls – a development that calls for a non-partisan celebration.
”In its 16 years in power, the PDP redefined governance as cluelessness, massive looting of the public treasury and crude exhibition of power. In its over three years in opposition, the PDP has again shown it does not understand the role of the opposition in a democracy. How then can the PDP convince Nigerians that it has learned its lessons and that it is ready to rule the country again? Nigerians must say ‘never again’ to this primitive and soulless party,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said the federal government has not been responding to the “amateurish and jejune” statements from the PDP precisely because the party has failed to learn the ropes of being an opposition party, “even when we have advised them to take a crash course on the role of the opposition in a democracy.”
”We broke our own rules this time because the PDP over-reached itself and scored an own goal at a time it could simply have congratulated the government and people of Nigeria on the release of the girls or just keep quiet,” he said.
The minister assured Nigerians that the federal government will intensify the ongoing efforts to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls and return them safely to their families, just like over 100 other Chibok girls who have so far been released, “unlike the PDP that could not secure the release of even one of the girls before it was
booted out of power.”