Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger State has confirmed that twenty-seven (27) students and three (3) staffs of Government Science College, Kagara, in Rafi local government area were abducted by gunmen were said to have stormed the school around 2.00 am on early Wednesday, February 17,2021.
The governor made the confirmation at a news conference shortly after an emergency meeting with heads of security agencies in Minna. According to him, Government Science College, Kagara has a total of 650 students out of whom the 27 were abducted while one Benjamin Doma was killed by the gunmen. He also confirmed too that twelve (12) family members were also abducted by the gunmen.
He has directed that all boarding schools in Shiroro, Rafi and Muyan be shut with immediate effect until further notice to avoid being attacked like Kagara incidence and called on all Nigerlites to condemn all forms of criminality in the state.
Sani-Bello who stated that the state government is doing all in her power to ensure safe return of the students and staff, also called on the federal government to deploy all resources to secure the state.
Governor Bello also said that the state 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.
Forty (40) passengers travelling from Kontagora to Minna where abducted by suspected gunmen on February 14,2021 but eight (8) out of the 40 passengers abducted had regained freedom, while the remaining are still in the hands of their abductors who are demanding ransom.
In the meantime, the Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on insecurity in the country.
This was just as the Upper Chamber condemned in very strong terms, Wednesday’s abduction of students and teachers of Government Science School, Kagara, Niger State, by bandits.
The resolutions reached by the Senate following consideration of a motion, is that “Abduction of Students and Teachers of Government Science School Kagara: Need for urgent action.”
Earlier, sponsor of the motion, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), while coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, “notes with sadness, and great concern, the recent terrorist attack and abduction of students at Government Science School, Kagara, Niger State by gunmen in the early hours of today.
“Further notes that the bandits were dressed in military uniforms when they attacked the boarding school, overpowered the security guards before whisking away the students, and killing some which numbers are yet to be confirmed. Aware that the exact number of students kidnapped are not yet known as headcount was being conducted in the school as we speak to ascertain the actual number of missing students; but the school has a population of over 1000 students.
“Further aware that the security agencies were able to detect the coordinates of the area the students were taken to, and have started tracing the bandits’ movement while security aircraft have been seen hovering in the air to track the location of the students.
“Aware that section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended stipulates that the welfare and security of citizens shall be the primary responsibility of government; thus government at all levels owe the people the duty to provide adequate security;
“Aware that the recent attack and abduction of school children at Government Science School, Kagara, Niger State is coming on the heels of yet to be resolved Kankara abduction of 300 students which took place at Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State, Chibok Girls in 2014, and abduction of about 100 school girls at Government Girls Science and Technical School, Dapchi, Yobe State in 2018.
“Concerned that like the other incidents of school children abduction that took place in Chibok and Dapchi, several years back, if no immediate action is taken to rescue Kagara School Students, their fate may be sealed in the hands of terrorists.
“Further worried that Niger, Katsina and many other states in North-west and North-central Nigeria are now bedeviled by Bandits attacks. The bandits Kill and kidnap at will despite the large deployment of police officers and soldiers to the affected states.
“Notes also on Sunday, February 14, 2021, many commuters and passengers numbering 57 were abducted in Kundu, all within the same area and yet to be released.”
Accordingly, the Senate in its resolutions, while condemning the attack on the Government Science School, Kagara, urged President Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity in the country.
The Upper Chamber also urged the President to consider and implement the recommendations of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Nigeria’s Security Challenges dated March 17, 2020 and Senate Resolutions therefrom, as a holistic response to the mounting security challenges across the country.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, underscored the need for the military and security agencies to work in collaboration with the various state governments towards securing schools situated in the northern part of Nigeria were abduction remains predominant.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched a team of top security chiefs to Niger State to co-ordinate the rescue of staff and students abducted early Wednesday by gunmen.
Buhari, while announcing that some top security chiefs had been dispatched to the state said he had directed the Armed Forces and Police to ensure immediate and safe return of all the captives. He was quoted as having told the security chiefs to meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the College.
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the president assured of the support of his administration to the Armed Forces in their brave struggle against terrorism and banditry and urged them to do all that can be done to bring an end to the saga, and avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future.
“Our prayers are with families of the victims of this attack,” said the president as he condemned as cowardly the attack on innocent school children.