Niger Gov Meets Parents Of Abducted Pupils, Promises To Ensure Their Rescue

Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello on Monday met with parents of the abducted students of the Salihu Tanko Islamiya School and promised to ensure the rescue of the students.

Pupils numbering 136 were kidnapped earlier this month in the school located in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

This is the latest in a string of school kidnappings in the country.

Governor Bello during his meeting with the parents and other stakeholders at the palace of the Emir of Kagara, Ahmed Gunna, commiserated with them and urged them to exercise patience as the government is exploring all avenues to see to their safe rescue.

“Even though we have ruled out payment of ransom, it is time for the government to take decisive measures towards ending the bandits’ activities that are forcefully changing the lives of the people, especially in the rural areas,” the governor said.

He lamented that the bandits have forced many to change their lifestyles.

“Farmers are displaced from their farmlands. Next, the bandits move to kidnappings and forcing us to close our schools, now they have started attacking Islamic schools, only God knows what is next,” the governor said.

According to Governor Bello, most of these bandits are from outside the country and they are hired to cause problems in Nigeria.

“It is not the habit of the true Fulani to indulge in this kind of act. These bandits are well organised and coordinated. We can not fold our arms anymore but to take decisive and necessary steps to apprehend those involved, both the informants and the bandits,” the governor added.

While commending the security personnel for their efforts in fighting the bandits in the last few weeks, Governor Sani Bello revealed that logistics have been provided and more combined security agencies have been deployed to ensure the release of the pupils.

The Emir of Kagara, Ahmad Gunna also at the meeting thanked the governor for all support especially in the security area to the emirate and the support given to the family of the kidnapped schoolchildren.

Headmaster of the Islamiyyah School, Abubakar Alhassan said that the action of the government to go full combat was a welcome development provided that their children will be brought back safely.

He told journalists that 15 of his teachers have escaped from the hands of their abductors in Zamfara State with four already in Kagara and 11 in a military facility in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State after which they will be reunited with their family members son.

‘Please Help Us!’ Mothers Of Abducted Kaduna Student Weep During Protest At NASS

 

Some of the mothers of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Kaduna State could not hold back their tears on Tuesday as they occupied the National Assembly complex, Abuja, in protest.

The protesters which include members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution are lamenting over what they described as the negligence of the state and Federal Government in securing the release of the children.

Angelina Babale one of the mothers spoke with Channels Television in Pidgin English. In an emotion-laden voice, she said she has been enveloped in grief since the abduction of her daughter.

Angelina Babale said she has been enveloped in grief since the abduction of her daughter. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

She called on the Federal Government to intervene and lamented that Nigerian troops do peace-keeping in other countries and now they are needed to keep peace in their home country.

Rabi Magaji Zakariah lamented that her son should have graduated last year but for the Coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Another mother of the abducted students, Rabi Magaji Zakariah, who is a widow, wept profusely during the protest.

“I feel it. I carried him in my tummy for nine months. I trained him for 27 months,” she said amid tears.

She lamented further that her son should have graduated last year but for the Coronavirus pandemic and now her son is nowhere to be found.

“I no fit sleep, I look back I look front, I no see my boy,” she said as sympathisers held her.

Watch the video below…

 

Free Afaka 29!

The Tuesday morning protest by parents and members of the Students Union Government (SUG) started from the Unity Fountain in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

They chanted songs of solidarity and displayed placards demanding prompt rescue of the students.

“Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right!, Free Afaka 29! ” the parents and students chanted as they marched to the National Assembly demanding the release of the students.

The protesters were joined by the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju during the protest.

The main entrance of the National Assembly was however manned by security agents who denied the protesters entrance.

On 11th March, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform.

Ten of the students were released in two batches of five each but 29 others have remained in captivity.

Parents Of Abducted Kaduna Students Protest At National Assembly

 

Parents of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Kaduna State on Tuesday occupied the National Assembly complex, Abuja, in protest.

The protesters which include members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution are lamenting over what they described as the negligence of the state and Federal Government in securing the release of the children.

They chanted songs of solidarity and displayed placards demanding prompt rescue of the students.

READ ALSO: Military Remains Loyal To Nigeria’s Constitution, Civil Authority – DHQ

“Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right!, Free Afaka 29! ” the parents and students chanted as they marched to the National Assembly.

Parents and members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka during the protest. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

The protesters joined by the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju had earlier gathered at the Unity Fountain before proceeding to the National Assembly complex.

The main entrance of the National Assembly was however manned by security agents who denied the protesters entrance.

On 11th March, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform.

Ten of the students were released in two batches of five each but 29 others have remained in captivity.

 

See photos from the protest below…

 

Five More Abducted Kaduna Students Regain Freedom

The premises of the Federal College of Forestry in Kaduna State.

 

Five more students out of the 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in Kaduna State have been released from captivity.

Their release comes barely 72 hours after the first set of five students were freed by the bandits who abducted them from their school in the Igabi Local Government Area of the state on March 11.

The Kaduna State government and police authorities have yet to confirm the release of the five students.

But the Personal Assistant to the Provost of the College, Ahmed Rufai, told Channels Television that four males and a female student were released at about 6pm on Thursday.

He explained that three of the released male students were brothers from the same parents, but he did not say if any ransom was paid before the students regained freedom.

The latest release of the students brings the total number of those freed by the bandits to 10 so far, while 29 others are still in captivity.

 

A Silent Attack

The bandits stormed the school very early in the morning on March 11 with the intention to abduct many students in what can be described as a silent attack.

Their operation was, however, thwarted by soldiers who promptly responded to a distress call and engaged the bandits in a fierce gunfight.

This led to the rescue of 180 people, comprising 132 male students, 40 female students, and eight civilian staff.

Despite the intervention of the soldiers, the assailants abducted 23 female and 16 male students – a situation that has left their parents in despair with calls on the government to rescue them.

One of those missing was a female student, Fatima Shamaki, whose father died from a heart attack after the news of her abduction was broken to him.

Ibrahim Shamaki was said to have fallen ill and later died while his relatives were about to take him to a hospital for treatment.

Hundreds Of Schoolboys Abducted In Katsina Released

A combination of photos showing the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State after they were released by their captors on December 17, 2020.

 

Hundreds of students abducted from a school in Kankara Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State have been released, authorities in the state have said.

The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, confirmed the release of the students on Thursday, a week after they were kidnapped by gunmen.

According to him, the boys are presently kept safe in Tsafe, a local government area in Zamfara State.

Governor Masari noted that the boys would be brought back to Kankara in Katsina State on Friday.

Mr Suleiman Tsiga, who is the Information Officer of Ƙanƙara LGA, also confirmed the release of the students to Channels Television.

He disclosed that the state governor, Aminu Masari, had directed that the children be moved to Ƙankara LGA secretariat before he changed his decision for security reasons.

 

The Armed Forces Know Their Job

Although the government did not give a specific figure of students released by their captors, over 300 of them were unaccounted for before the news of their freedom broke.

Shortly after their release was reported, President Muhammadu Buhari described the safe return of the schoolboys as a big relief to their families, the entire country and to the international community.

He commended what he called the spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the governments of Katsina, Zamfara and military which led to the release of the students.

A screenshot taken on December 14, 2020, shows a classroom block at the Government Science Secondary School, Ƙankara, Katsina State.

 

“The Governor (Masari) and the army worked extremely hard. As soon as I got the information, I congratulated them.

“The Armed Forces know their job. They have been well trained and properly motivated,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.

Katsina State is located in the north-west region of the country, but the Boko Haram terrorist group which has been operating in the North East for more than a decade claimed responsibility for the abduction.

On Friday last week, gunmen suspected to be bandits invaded the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara.

While some of the students abducted escaped during the incident, some others returned recently as the grieving parents keep watch at the school in anticipation of their children’s release.

 

Few Hours Turn Four Days

The abduction of the students sparked an outrage with calls from various individuals and groups on the government to step up efforts towards securing the lives of the people.

It occurred at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari had travelled to Daura, his hometown in Katsina for a private visit.

The President had condemned the incident in a statement shortly after it happened and sent a delegation of the Federal Government comprising the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, and the service chiefs to Katsina to work with the state government in securing the release of the schoolboys.

VIDEOThe Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, says all the schoolboys will return home in the next few hours.

In spite of his action, President Buhari was under fire for not visiting Kankara to sympathise with the parents of the students.

Receiving the delegation at the Government House on Sunday, Governor Masari confirmed that at least 333 students were still unaccounted for.

Magashi, on his part, had assured the governor that the security agencies had swung into action and promised that the boys would be rescued “in some few hours”.

It, however, took four days since the minister made the remarks before the students were released.

Their parents can now heave a sigh of relief when their children return to them, but it is unclear if their captors released all the students.

Read the full statement of the President’s reaction to the release of the boys below:

PRESIDENT BUHARI WELCOMES THE RELEASE OF KIDNAPPED KANKARA STUDENTS

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the release of kidnapped students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, describing their safe return as a big relief to their families, the entire country and to the international community.

In a short remark shortly after their release was announced, President Buhari expressed the nation’s appreciation for the steps taken by all involved to make their release possible.

President Buhari specifically cited what he called the “spirit of partnership and the collaborative efforts of the government of Katsina, Zamfara and military leading to the release and commended the nation’s intelligence agencies, the military and police force for providing the environment for the safe release of the hostages.”

“The Governor (Masari) and the army worked extremely hard. As soon as I got the information I congratulated them. The Armed Forces know their job. They have been well trained and properly motivated.”

On the issue of detainees held elsewhere in the country by either terrorists or bandits, the President gave assurances that his administration is acutely aware of its responsibility to protect the life and property of the Nigerians.

He urged the citizens to be fair to the administration as it deals with the problems of security, economy and corruption which the administration was elected to resolve.

“When we came, we made efforts that yielded the return of the Chibok Girls. When a similar incident of school abduction happened at Dapchi, we successfully returned all but one of the more than one hundred abductees. When this latest incident happened, we put in our efforts and today we have this result to show.”

The President pointed to the successes of the administration in dealing with security in the South-South and the North East. He said the North West now presented a problem which his administration is determined to deal with.

“We have a lot of work to do, especially now that we have reopened the borders. It is unfortunate that the bandits and terrorists continued to get weapons even under the circumstances of the border closure. We are going to dare them. We will deal with all that,” the President further assured.

He prayed for the full recovery of the students who he said had endured significant hardships in the course of their six-day ordeal.

He also gave further assurances of the determination of his administration to return to safety all fellow citizens held against their will.

Garba Shehu.