Haze and suspicion have continued to surround the reported abduction of 94 girls from Government Girls Science Technical College, in Dapchi, Yobe State.
Boko Haram terrorists attacked the school on Monday and reportedly abducted some of the girls. At the end of the attack, at least 94 girls were declared missing.
Reports that the girls had been rescued by soldiers were debunked on Thursday, but true situation remains unclear.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on Friday visited the community. He said the Federal Government needed more time to investigate the abduction of students.
“But we must understand that these are the dying days of the Boko Haram and what they intend to do is to embarrass the government because they have been degraded, they have been pushed out of Sambisa forest,” he said.
However, the manner in which information about the missing girls have been handled since the incident has left many Nigerians suspecting there are plot by authorities to cover up the incident.
The Nigeria reporter for BBC News, Stephanie Hegarty, expressed the same fear on Friday. She expressed frustration at government authorities refusing to comment or disclose what they know so far.
She also reported that authorities may have put up measures to ensure that parents of the missing girls do not talk to the press.
She tweeted: “A parent in Dapchi called me to say he’s in hiding after an order has been issued for his arrest. One parent already arrested. For attacking convoy ostensibly, though they fear gov trying to prevent them from talking to the media. Police not answering calls. #Yobe”.
On Thursday, she said journalists were meeting “a wall of silence while trying to contact authorities – army, state gov, federal gov – for update on Dapchi girls”
Reacting to Hegarty’s report on Twitter, former Minister of Aviation, said he was not surprised.
“Heard they are attempting to arrest some of the parents of the abducted girls for speaking out and letting the world know the truth” he said. “We’re dealing with a heartless,mendacious government who have empowered Boko Haram enormously by paying them huge ransoms for kidnapped girls”.
Speaking on Friday, Lai Mohammed said: “We are still monitoring the situation and what I want people to understand is that since two days ago some of the students who fled to neighbouring towns and communities had returned and more have been returning.
“When we arrived here we have been briefed by the governor and the GOC about the situation of the students.
“We know there are few students who are yet accounted for, but we don’t want to manufacture stories on this issue. But give us few days; we will be able to tell you exactly the real situation of things.
“But you can see the response of the military, the response of the state government is quite commendable. Since four days now we have been following the efforts being made to arrest the situation.
“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. Give us a few more time please.”
He said Boko Haram insurgents “have been starved out of oxygen and the oxygen they feed on is publicity so that they can grab the world’s attention”
“But I can assure you that with the determination of our gallant military, the days of Boko Haram are numbered”, he added.