Federal Government delegation, Ministers led by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed visit Niger State
By Ayo Kehinde
Twenty- Seven, 27, students, three staff and 12 family members are still missing after gunmen stormed the Government Science College, Kagara, in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger state at 2 a:m on Wednesday, killing one student in the 650-student school. Benjamin Doma, is the name of the student killed by the kidnappers.
Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger State on Wednesday made the confirmation at a news conference shortly after an emergency meeting with heads of security agencies in Minna on Wednesday.
As a safety measure, Sani-Bello directed that all boarding schools in Shiroro, Rafi and Muyan be closed down with immediate effect until the situation improved.
“I call on all Nigerlites to condemn all forms of criminality in the state,” he said.
He also said that the government would not pay ransom to the suspected bandits in order to secure the release of their victims, but that it was ready to support any bandit who was ready to surrender their arms.
“When you negotiate and pay ransom to criminals, they will use the money to purchase more weapons,” he said.
Meanwhile a Federal Government delegation led by the National Security Adviser, retired Major General Babagana Monguno, arrived Minna, the Niger State capital on Wednesday.
Others in the delegation were the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; and Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi.
Speaking on arrival, Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the Federal Government has put measures in place to ensure the safe release of the abducted students, some staff and members of their families in Government Science College Kagara.
Expatiating on the measures, the Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, said there will be a confluence of efforts both political as well as military to resolve the issue.
For the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, a lot of strategy has been put in place to deal with the situation, adding that the Police are working in synergy with other security agencies within the communities to ensure that the kidnapped students as well as others travelling along Zungeru-Kontagora road are freed unharmed.
He said the Force will reinforce the strategy deployed in the release of Kankara students in Katsina State to also achieve the same feat in addition to using its constitutional approach to tackle the situation.
Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger State in a meeting with heads of security agencies in the state
In order to ensure the state is kept peaceful and the criminals dealt with, the IGP said the police have deployed four units of Mobile Police Force men to the state and are working with the Department of State Security Service to reinforce security.
Following a point of order raised by Senator Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), on the abduction of students and staff of the school, the Senate on Wednesday urged President Buhari to urgently declare a state of emergency on security.
Musa said the gunmen who whisked their victims away were dressed in military uniforms. He demanded the implementation of its ad- hoc resolution on security and urged the combined team of military and police to set up an operation to dismantle all criminal camps across the country.
Also speaking, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, also from Niger State, said the kidnappers and bandits were emboldened by the successes being recorded in the state in recent time as about 100 people had so far been kidnapped in the state.
He said the forest from the FCT, which extends to Niger up to Zamfara State was being used by the criminals.
He said the fact that the bandits have invaded Niger State was an indication that the safety of lives and properties of FCT residents is being threatened.
Senator Bima Enagi, also from Niger State, declared that the Buhari regime was incompetent to handle security challenges in the country.
He said, “We need to amend the constitution so that governors should be chief security officers of their states since the government at the centre had failed to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians.
“The Federal Government is busy giving palliative instead of creating employment, thus aggravating insecurity.”
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, described the kidnap of the students as unfortunate. He, however, said the security agencies had challenges with personnel and funds.
He said, “Abduction of students from school happens in the northern part of Nigeria.
“With incidences like this, parents would be scared to take their wards to school, and the efforts of the past and by present leaders at providing education would be defeated.
“Service chiefs have to secure the schools and have to carry the states along,” he added.