By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday set up an adhoc committee to back trace the circumstances of the abduction, status and non-rescue of the remaining 113 Chibok school girls in Borno State.
This was even as the House in a related development passed for second reading bill for an act to amend the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, Cap E7 , Laws of the federation if Nigeria 2004.
The decision of the house was consequent upon a motion brought before the House on the heels of the fourth anniversary of the abduction.
Recall that over 200 schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok were abducted by Boko Haram on April 14, 2014.
Adopting the motion titled “Four years anniversary of abduction of Chibok school girls; call on the federal government to urgently rescue remaining Chibok school girls in captivity”, sponsored by Hon. Asabe Bashir (Borno) under “Matters of Urgent Public Importance” the House called on 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.
The House also urged the executive arm of government to be proactive in its duty to protect lives and properties of Nigerians especially school children.
Presenting the motion, Bashir said “The House notes the abduction of 219 school pupils of Girls Secondary School, Chibok Local Government Council, Borno State by the Boko haram insurgents on the 14th day of April, 2014.
“Appreciates the efforts of the federal government and security agencies which has led to the rescue of 109 of the abducted Chibok girls “Regrets that Thursday 14th of April , 2018 marked the four years anniversary of that dreadful incident and 112 of the girls are yet to be rescued.
“Aware of government assurances to rescue the remaining Chibok girls through negotiations with the insurgents, but further regrets that the negotiations is taking too long.
“Commends the urgency with which the federal government handled negotiation and release if the abducted Dapchi girls.
“Concerned about fate of remaining abducted Chibok girls who are continuously subjected to untold hardship, slavery, molestation, abuse, rape, pregnancy and forceful marriage in the hands of their abductors.
“Further concerned about the agony their parents go through each day they remain in captivity”.
Contributing to debate, members regretted that four years after abduction, the girls were still in captivity despite talks to rescue.
For instance, Hon. Nicholas Ossai (Delta) said that the issue of Chibok girls must be well addressed.
“We have passed resolutions several times both Senate and the House of Representatives but at the end of the day, the resolutions are not adequately implemented. It is high time , people know they are not doing enough. This issue of Chibok girls must be addressed.”
Also speaking, Hon. Diri Dounye (Bayelsa) said “We have been told severally that book haram has been technically defeated. This House should set up a committee on boko haram to invite all heads of security agencies to tell Nigerians the truth about the Chibok girls and the remaining Dapchi girls.”
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara urged the government to ensure that the country would not mark another anniversary with the remaining girls not being united with their families.
“We don’t want to have another anniversary without the girls being reunited with your families. As long as the last surviving girl has not been reunited with her family, the truth is that we haven’t done anything. Next, we will not be celebrating the anniversary of girls still in captivity”, he said
As at the time of filing this report, the House was yet to formally inaugurate the committee.
Meanwhile, the House in a related development passed for second reading bill for an act to amend the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, Cap E7 , Laws of the federation if Nigeria 2004.
If passed into law, the Act would prohibit and criminalize estimated billing by electricity distribution companies and provide for compulsory installation of pre-paid meters to all powers consumers in Nigeria.
The bill was being sponsored by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.