House Urges FG to Hasten Release of Remaining Chibok, Dapchi Girls

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*Wants federal jobs rebased to reflect local govt structure
James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a motion urging the executive arm of government to urgently conclude negotiations and secure the release of the remaining abducted Chibok girls as well as the remaining Dapchi girl in Boko Haram custody.

It further urged the federal government to be proactive in its duty to protect lives and property of Nigerians especially school children who are targets of insurgents.

The lower House also approved the setting up of an adhoc committee which is expected to get information on the status of rescue efforts by the executive towards the release of the girls.

The resolution of the green chamber followed a motion brought under matters of urgent public importance which was sponsored by Hon. Asabe Vilita Bashir (APC, Borno).

While appreciating efforts by the federal government and security agencies which had led to the rescue of 107 of the abducted Chibok girls, she regretted that four years after the 2014 abduction, the remaining 112 Chibok girls are yet to be released.

She noted government’s assurances to rescue the remaining Chibok girls through negotiation with insurgents, but expressed regrets that the negotiations were taking too long.

While also commending the urgency attached to the negotiation and release of Dapchi girls, Bashir, however, expressed concern about the fate of the remaining abducted Chibok girls whom she said are continuously subjected to untold hardship, slavery, molestation, abuse, rape, pregnancy and forceful marriage in the hands of their abductors.

In his contribution, Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said it was not enough to keep quite notwithstanding what had been done to secure the release of some of the girls.

He said though the current administration had been able to restore tranquility to the insecurity situation, the House should continue to mount pressure on government for the release of the remaining captives.

Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said nothing could be said to have been achieved if the last surviving Chibok and Dapchi girls are not reunited with their families.

He said the executive must do all within its powers to liberate the remaining captives.

Meanwhile, the House yesterday passed a motion directing that going forward, mass recruitment and replacement exercises into federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government should be debased along the country’s local government structure as the third tier of government.

It said this is already provided for in Parts I and II, First Schedule of the constitution-to promote a sense of belonging for all Nigerians through equitable distribution of employment opportunities.

The House also mandated its Committees on Federal Character and Legislative Compliance to ensure full enforcement, monitoring and quarterly reporting to the House.

The resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Muhammed Sani Zoro (APC, Jigawa) on the need to rebase the employment formula into federal agencies using the local governments instead of states as a base in compliance with Federal Character provisions.

He expressed worry that numerous provisions of the constitution are largely observed in the breach by extra-ministerial departments, parastatals, bodies and institutions of the federal government.

Hon. Adamu Chika (APC, Niger) said the alleged breached was unacceptable, adding that going forward, employment into federal agencies should be scrutinised by the National Assembly.

Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) said the solution should begin from the top, stressing that 99 percent of security appointments are from the same region, asking that “why would agencies not follow suit?”

He regretted that the rule of law had often been preached but not practiced by the government.

On his part, Hon. Michael Omogbehin (PDP, Ondo) said President Muhammadu Buhari should first correct an anomaly at the Federal Character Commission where both the chairman and secretary hail from the Northeast, adding that this had never been done.

Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba (APC, Kaduna) said the issue of tribalism cut across every tribe, adding that “we need to give biting teeth to law of federal character.”