Niger Abduction: 11 Students Released By Gunmen

 

Eleven students who were part of scores kidnapped earlier from an Islamiyya school located at Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State have been released.

This is according to a communique by Mary Noel-Berje, Chief Press Secretary to the state governor.

In the statement late on Sunday, Ms. Noel-Berje noted that the released children were deemed too small and couldn’t walk, and this prompted the kidnappers to release them.

The state’s chief scribe stated that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello expressed shock and is saddened by the recent reports of abduction of innocent people by armed bandits in several communities across three Local Government Areas of Rafi, Wushishi, and Bida.

READ ALSO: At Least 200 Islamiyya Students Kidnapped In Niger

Gunmen invaded Tegina community in Rafi Local Government Area, shot one person dead, and left one seriously injured as well as kidnapped an unconfirmed number of Islamiyya Students and Teachers from Salihu Tanko Islamic School alongside some passengers of a Sharon Bus travelling to Minna.

Speaking further regarding the ugly event, Governor Bello said it is outrageous that banditry in the state is escalating. He reiterated his emergency call on the Federal Government for prompt intervention.

“The situation has reached crisis level, in fact, it’s a war situation that we have to confront without further delay,” the governor fumed while also stating that the state government is still searching and conducting a house-to-house headcount to ascertain the exact number of children abducted at Tegina.

Niger State has had a bad run in recent times, with bandits constantly threatening the peace of the state. Only yesterday, there were reports that gunmen, on about 70 motorcycles, attacked 17 communities in Wushishi Local Government Area where they shot several people.

In a bid to escape the bullets of the marauders, some women and children drowned as they tried to get across River Kaduna.

Sources say more than ten people are still receiving treatment at the Wushishi General Hospital even as searches are still ongoing to ascertain how many persons are missing from Babako, Tashan Girgi, Kwakwagi, Fakara, Ndiga, Buzu, Akare, Kala Kala, Agwa, Anguwan Gizo, Tsamiya and other neighbouring villages which were attacked by the bandits.

The governor described the current situation as unfortunate and unbecoming and assured that the Joint Military Taskforce has been mobilized and are already tracing the tracks of the criminals for possible isolation and ambush.

Governor Bello appealed for calm and restated the “strong resolve” of the state government to continue to protect the lives and property of the citizens as a matter of utmost importance and priority.

Niger State Government Commits To Press Freedom

sani bello
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello

It is World Press Freedom Day and the Niger State government has reaffirmed its commitment to upholding and promoting press freedom.

The government says such freedom will enable it engage the people for open and transparent governance.

The Commissioner of Information, Tourism and Culture in the State, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, made the position of the government known in a statement issued on Tuesday to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

Mr Vatsa assured the media that the present administration in the state viewed press as the fourth estate of the realm, partner in lubricating participatory governance as well as ensuring accountability and fight against corruption to achieve development.

He stated that, the government was desirous to always promote freedom of expression as a way of allowing the people to contribute to the process of governance and leveraging on such expression to make correction when necessary for the overall development of the state.

The Commissioner said: “At this auspicious time of the World Press Freedom Day, the government of Niger State under the leadership of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is assuring all practicing journalists in Niger State the commitment of the government to providing the right avenue legally and genuinely possible to continue in discharge their duties”.

According to him, “just as Governor Bello has always said, our doors are always open to constructive criticism that will help to move our dear state forward. We will always advise our dear friends in the media to practice within the confines of the ethical codes that guide their profession”.

“Once again I congratulate the entire media practitioners in the state, Nigeria and world over on this World Press Freedom Day that is a General Assembly of United Nation declaration to promote freedom of expression”.

Niger Governor Orders Payment Of Casual Health Workers’ Salaries

Niger State Governor on healthcare workersThe Niger State Governor has ordered the immediate payment of two-year salaries owed 10 casual primary healthcare workers in Maje town of Suleja LGA.

Luck smiled on the affected workers on Wednesday when Governor Abubakar Sani Bello learnt of their plight during an unscheduled inspection to the health facilities.

Displeased with the development, he directed the Suleja Local Government Area (LGA) Chairman, Mr Ahmed Diko, to effect immediate payment of the outstanding salaries of the casual workers.

“It is very unfair for people to work without payment. As the Chief Security Officer (Suleja LGA Chairman) of this place, go and get money to pay this workers their due salaries within 24 hours,” the governor directed.

In addition to the remuneration, Governor Bello assured the affected workers of permanent employment if they discharge their duties diligently.

“If you do your work as expected, I assure all of you of permanent employment. This hospital is being used especially by pregnant women, always ensure proper hygiene especially in the bathrooms and toilets,” he said.

The governor also pledged his administration’s resolve to provide adequate modern medical facilities to the primary healthcare centres across Niger State for easy access to healthcare services, especially the teeming rural dwellers.

He directed the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Ibrahim Tiffin, to ensure adequate provision of health facilities in the area.

Governor Bello also addressed the crowd that trooped out on sighting his convoy, urging them to shun bitterness and be patient with the government.

He assured them that they would soon feel the impact of the change they voted for.

Commending the governor’s intervention, one of the affected workers, Malama Fatima Mohammed, said: “This singular act of the governor will surely wipe away our tears.

“We are 10 casual staff in this centre. Our salary is 6000 Naira per month (and) for over two years now, we have not been paid by the Local government that engages us,” she said.