According to him, the state government is poised to ensure the safety of the lives and properties of the residents at all costs.
As a result of the announcement, Anka called on the Zamfara State Police Command to ensure total enforcement of the government’s directives.
On February 26, Nigerians woke up to the sad news of an attack on the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Jangebe by bandits.
While the police authorities in the state said a total of 317 girls were abducted from the schools, some of the schoolgirls were said to have escaped from the armed men.
After spending four nights in the custody of the bandits, the remaining students were released and the state governor, Bello Matawalle, put the figure of those freed at 279.
But the release of the girls was said to have met another unfortunate incident that reportedly led to the death of one person in Jangebe.
The victim was reportedly shot by security operatives who were said to have opened fire after an angry mob kicked against the insistence on a formal handover before the girls’ parents could leave with them.
This prompted the state government to impose a curfew on the town and suspend market activities there to prevent a further breakdown of law and order.
We are leading with the return of schoolgirls in Zamfara, the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, and the confirmation of security chiefs.
Jangebe Schoolgirls Regain Freedom
Tuesday morning started on a bright note as schoolgirls kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State last Friday were released.
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle said the girls were released with the help of repentant bandits without any ransom paid.
The Governor put the number of girls recovered at 279, although the police had earlier said 317 girls were taken.
President Muhammadu Buhari celebrated the release but called for greater vigilance. Later on Tuesday, the President declared a no-fly-zone across Zamfara State and banned all mining activities as part of measures to tackle the North-Western state’s security challenges.
Nigeria Receives First Batch of Vaccines
Nigeria finally took delivery of almost four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday.
The vaccines, donated by the WHO-backed COVAX, arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, around noon via an Emirates airline (above) and were received by top government officials led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
Another 41 million vaccines are expected to arrive from the African Union.
Reaction: The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and the National Incident Manager of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Mukhtar Muhammed said the arrival of the vaccine does not mean the pandemic has ended.
After the confirmation on Tuesday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan advised the new service chiefs to take the insurgency war to the terrorists and bandits and dislodge them from their enclaves.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram insurgents have attacked Dikwa local government area in Borno State and abducted at least seven aid workers. The United Nations said the insurgents had “directly targeted” aid facilities.
In its account of the attack, the army said it was able to repel the terrorists and denied that they were able to attack a United Nations base.
Mass Resignation: The House of Representatives has called for improved welfare for troops and effective delivery of welfare packages across the ranks after a total of 356 soldiers resigned in July 2020.
What else is happening?
Omoyele Sowore: The #RevolutionNow convener appeared in court with a ‘spiritual adviser’.
PDP: Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday led a group of party chieftains to a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Herdsmen Crisis: Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom have settled their differences over comments made on AK-47 amid the security situation in the country.
Abdulrasheed Maina: Money recovered by the ex-Pension boss was used to fund the 2012 budget, a witness told the Federal High Court on Tuesday.
Ekiti State: Gunmen have kidnapped another foreigner along Igbemo Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area.
Ebola: Guinea has launched a vaccination campaign after a fresh outbreak of the deadly disease struck the country this month, with officials hoping to eradicate the virus in six weeks.
Alexei Navalny: The United States has imposed sanctions on the director of Russia’s FSB security agency after finding it carried out the near-fatal poisoning of President Vladimir Putin’s leading critic.
Schoolgirls kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State last Friday have regained their freedom.
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, who confirmed the news on Tuesday, said the girls were released with the help of repentant bandits without any ransom paid.
The Governor put the number of girls recovered at 279, although the police had earlier said 317 girls were kidnapped.
The released girls arrived at the Zamfara State Government House in Gusau early on Tuesday wearing face masks and light blue and brown chadors. They had breakfast and were scheduled to visit the hospital for checks before a reunion with their families.
The girls’ kidnapping on Friday was the latest in a series of school abductions that has rocked the country in the past three months.
“I am very exhausted and very devastated,” Governor Matwalle told reporters on Tuesday, “but I thank God that with the prayers of Nigerians we are able to secure their release.”
He said his government will continue to negotiate with bandits – some who may have been involved in the abduction – and convince them to accept a peace deal. “We want to bring everybody on board,” he said.
Governor Matawalle also noted that the released girls will undergo counseling.
We are leading with the continued search for schoolgirls abducted in Zamfara State, the imminent arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, and the importance of the soon-to-be-launched Dangote Refinery to the Nigerian economy.
Search for Jangebe Girls Continues
On Saturday, the students and staff abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kagara in Niger State regained their freedom. A heartwarming development. But over 300 schoolgirls taken in a Junior Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State are still missing,
Zamfara is one of the states negotiating peace treaties with bandits and despite the kidnapping, which took place on Friday, Governor Matawalle has vowed such diplomatic efforts will continue.
Ali Ndume: The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army said blanket amnesty is not the solution to ending insecurity as it could lead to new forms of criminality.
Dig deeper: From Chibok to Dapchi to Jangebe, school kidnappings have become a major feature of terrorism in Nigeria.
Nigeria Set for COVID-19 Vaccines
About 3.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to leave India today and arrive in Nigeria by Tuesday, more than a year after the country recorded its first coronavirus infection.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced this on Saturday.
The vaccines are courtesy COVAX, a global scheme backed by the World Health Organisation to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines across the world.
But there might still be delays. This isn’t the first time government officials have declared a date on which the vaccines might arrive.
“I can assure you that the vaccines are coming and they are coming very quickly barring any change in the delivery plan that has been released to us by UNICEF,” Mustapha said.
NCDC: On Sunday, Nigeria reported 240 new cases of the virus and two deaths, according to the disease control agency.
Dangote’s Refinery nears Completion
Despite being one of the world’s largest producers of crude, Nigeria has lacked adequate refining capacity for decades. Most of the country’s refined petroleum products are imported, drawing on scarce foreign exchange resources.
But this is about to change with the near-completion of the Dangote Oil Refinery, a 650,000 barrels per day integrated refinery project on the outskirts of Lagos.
Chaperoned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the refinery is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility. Its pipeline infrastructure is the largest in the world and it is sustained by a 400MW power plant.
But the main allure for Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, who joined other high-powered executives to inspect the facility recently, is how the facility will help to conserve foreign exchange and strengthen the local economy
What else is happening?
Femi Falana: The senior lawyer has criticized the arrest of a former aide to Kano State Governor, Salisu Tanko Yakassai.
Wole Soyinka: The Nobel laureate suggested that States should consider shutting down their activities in protest when the next school abduction takes place.
Kaduna State: At least seven people were killed in separate bandit attacks across two local governments of the state.
Femi Fani-Kayode: The former aviation minister has warned that the current state of insecurity could lead to a civil war if not properly addressed.
Niger State: The government said it not sure when the boarding schools that were shut down over insecurity will reopen.
Chadwick Boseman: Six months after his death at the age of 43, the Black Panther actor won the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama for his poignant role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Donald Trump: The ousted President said he is considering running for another term in 2024.
And that’s it for this morning. See you tomorrow for more updates.
The kidnapped schoolgirls of the Government Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State, have reportedly regained their freedom.
While Channels Television gathered on Sunday that the students have regained their freedom, the state government and other officials are, however, yet to confirm this or provide any details.
As of Friday evening, seven out of the 317 abducted female students were said to have escaped.
A source who spoke with Channels Television from Jangebe town via a phone call confirmed that the seven girls returned home on their own as they claimed they manoeuvred their way back from the bandits while trekking along the forest.
The girls were abducted from their boarding school in the early hours of Friday.
In reaction to the development, the Zamfara Police Commissioner, CP Abutu Yar, had said a joint search and rescue operation was already underway with a view to rescuing all 317 students.
CP Yaro said the Force Commander Operations Hadarin Daji, Major General Aminu Bande, Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army Gusau, and other state government officials led a heavily armed Re-enforcement team to Jangebe to complement the rescue operation in the locations where the students were believed to have been whisked to.
Meanwhile shortly after, the state Governor, Bello Matawalle, ordered the immediate closure of all boarding schools in the state.
“As we are making efforts to strengthen security around our schools, I have directed the immediate closure of all boarding secondary schools across the State,” Matawalle said in a broadcast, Friday evening.
One Abduction Too Many?
The reported release of the students comes a day after abducted students and staff of the Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, regained their freedom.
Armed men who were said to have worn military uniforms, had attacked the school at about 2:00 am On February 17, shooting sporadically before whisking away their captives to an unknown destination.
One student was killed in the process.
After the abductees regained their freedom on Saturday, Governor Abubakar Bello did not comment on whether a ransom was paid for the victims’ release but he said it was a joint effort by security agencies, traditional rulers and other “major stakeholders.”
Prior to the Kagara abduction, over 300 students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State were also abducted in December 2020.
They were, however, all rescued shortly after.
A ‘Strong Warning’
President Muhammadu Buhari reacting to the spate of abductions described it as inhumane and totally unacceptable.
In a statement released by spokesman Garba Shehu on Friday, the President said: “this administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.”
According to Buhari, “no criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government,” and he added that “the only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.”
“We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits,” he said, stressing that “our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.”
The Federal Government had also said that no ransom will be paid for the release of abducted students.
The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Saturday while explaining some of the government’s strategies to curb the rate of abductions in the country.
While he ruled out the option of paying ransoms, the minister assured Nigerians that the “government has put in place various strategies to contain banditry, insurgency and kidnapping.”
“Some of these measures are kinetic, some are non-kinetic,” Mr Lai Mohammed said, without disclosing any specific actions.
According to him, the same was the case for the abducted Kankara schoolboys in Katsina State and the Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State, where contrary to reports, he claimed that no ransom was paid to secure their release.
“All these stories about ransom, are conspiracy theories,” the minister said.
He continued by saying: “I can assure you that the government is on top of the matter – but it is not a subject matter for television discussion.
“We didn’t get there overnight, that is why we can’t get out in one day”.
Securing the lives and properties of the people is a major responsibility of the Nigerian government, as mandated by the nation’s constitution.
But, for years, the rate of insecurity in the country has been on the rise, including insurgency and banditry in the North, and the activities of killer herdsmen across the South.
Other crimes such as armed robbery, cultism, kidnap for ransom, and internet fraud, among others, cannot be ignored.
The alarming rate of insecurity has sparked an outcry in the country, especially the increased activities of bandits who seemed to have turned schools into soft targets.
In less than 12 weeks, gunmen have attacked three secondary schools and made away with innocent children numbering over 670.
Three Years In Captivity
These attacks, which raised concerns from within and outside Nigeria, were preceded by similar incidents in Nigeria’s north-east region.
Perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents, a secondary school in Chibok, a town in Borno State, was attacked and 276 students were kidnapped in April 2014.
While the girls were released in batches and others escaped from captivity over the years, unconfirmed reports said an additional number of girls escaped in January 2021.
Four years after the Chibok girls’ abduction, a group of insurgents invaded the Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State, also in the North East.
The insurgents abducted over 110 girls from the school in February 2018 but later returned them to the community after holding them captive for four weeks.
However, one of the girls, Leah Sharibu, was left behind and has remained in the custody of the insurgents reportedly for refusing to renounce Christianity.
Leah, who is said to be the only Christian among the Dapchi girls, recently marked her third year in the custody of the insurgents since she was abducted alongside her colleagues on February 19, 2018.
Six Nights Of Horror
The first of the recent attacks occurred on December 11, 2020, when bandits invaded the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, one of the 34 local government areas in Katsina State.
Sources said the incident took place in the night as the assailants forced their way into the school premises and marched hundreds of students to an unknown location.
Confirming the attack on the school, the state governor, Aminu Masari, noted that 17 of the students escaped while over 300 others were unaccounted for.
The students later went on to spend a week in the custody of their abductors before they were released and later kept safe in Tsafe, a local government area in Zamfara State.
“It’s been seven days since this happened, but by God’s grace, we’ve been able to retrieve the children from the bandits. All 344 of them,” Governor Masari said of the students’ return.
Narrating their ordeal, some of the students told Channels Television that their experience in captivity could best be described as “horrific”.
The incident occurred at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to Daura, his hometown in Katsina for a private visit.
During his stay in the state, he did not visit Kankara to sympathise with the parents of the students but he later met with the students after they regained freedom.
Katsina 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.
The Midnight Raid
While the dust of the abduction in Katsina had yet to settle down, pandemonium gripped Rafi Local Government Area of Niger, a state in the north-central region of Nigeria.
On February 17, armed men believed to be bandits stormed the Government Science College in Kagara town in what could be described as a repeat of the Kankara incident.
Sources told Channels Television that the assailants gained entry into the school premises at about 2 am and began to fire sporadic gunshots.
In the process, one of the students was said to have been killed with others sustaining varying degrees of gunshot wounds.
The assailants reportedly began the operation from the staff quarters and ended at the students’ hostels after which they left with an unconfirmed number of staff and students to an unknown destination.
However, one of the staff was able to escape from the hands of the bandits while the authorities in the state said efforts were ongoing to rescue the others.
There have been rumours that the abducted persons had been released and reunited with their families, but the authorities in Niger State distanced themselves from such reports.
“Our utmost priority right now is to make sure we bring them back home safe and that is exactly what we are going to do. So, there hasn’t been any information I can give you at this moment but once we have anything for you, we will let you know,” Governor Abubakar Bello told reporters at the Government House in Minna, two days after the abduction.
After spending 10 days in the custody of their abductors, the students were released by the bandits on February 27.
Another Chibok Experience?
Just as the Kagara incident continued to generate reactions, with calls to strengthen the nation’s security architecture, Nigerians woke up to the sad news of another bandit attack on a school, this time in Zamfara State in what could be described as a replica of the Chibok abduction of 2014.
Located in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of the state, the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Jangebe became the third victim on February 26 in the chain of bandit attacks on schools in the North within the last three months.
The Commissioner for Information in Zamfara, Suleiman Anka, told Channels Television that the school came under siege at midnight, although he did not give the figure of students abducted by the assailants.
A statement from the police authorities in the state later confirmed that 317 students were kidnapped in the process, while the command, in collaboration with the military, has launched a joint search and rescue operations with a view to rescuing the victims.
Meanwhile, a resident of Jangebe town told Channels Television that seven of the abducted students who escaped from the bandits returned home in the evening of February 26.
The girls said they maneuvered their way while trekking along the forest, adding that more students who also fled from the armed men should be expected to return.
The abduction of the schoolgirls came at a time when the authorities in Zamfara ordered the immediate closure of 10 boarding and day schools in a bid to prevent such an incident.
Those ordered to close were located on the Zamfara borders with Katsina, Kaduna, and Sokoto States where bandits have attacked dozens of communities in recent times, but the school in Jangebe was not among the affected schools.
The parents of the students of Government Girls Junior Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State have set up a camp within the school premises in anticipation of the release of their abducted children.
The schoolgirls were abducted from the school in the early hours of Friday.
Although it is yet to be confirmed whether the government is in contact with the abductors, the parents said they are counting on the State Government and security operatives for the successful rescue of their girls.
One of the parents, Shitu Habibu Jangebe, who spoke to our correspondent over the phone, said they have been in the school since Saturday morning and will not leave until they hear the good news.
“Although we have seen a number of trucks going into the bush, we don’t know what for because no one is telling us anything. But we have hope the trucks may be used to bring back our children,” the parent said.
Also, a top government official craving anonymity told Channels Television that significant progress is being made in securing the girls’ freedom. “I can assure you these girls will soon be rescued,” the official said.
Earlier, the State Police Command had dispatched two surveillance helicopters to reinforce ground troops around the suspected areas where the girls are possibly being held.
Special forces from the Inspector General of Police and men of Operation Puff Adder are involved in the rescue operation.
The co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls group, Aisha Yesufu, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over his handling of the increasing spate of abductions in the country.
When asked on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, what she thinks of the President’s assurance to Nigerians about efforts being made to rescue all those who have been abducted, Mrs Yesufu said: “what I make of the statement is absolutely nothing”.
“We are used to a president whose words mean nothing. He says one thing, and another thing happens,” she added.
Since one of the major abductions in the country happened in 2014 – (the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State), Yesufu has been at the forefront of the calls made to the Federal Government to ensure the release of all abductees as well as to curb the rate of insecurity in the country.
Speaking of the abduction of 317 female students at the Jangebe Government Girls Secondary School in Zamfara State on Friday, she said the President’s body language had been an enabler to the perpetrators.
“The body language of President Muhammadu Buhari enables the terrorists. They know that we have an ineffective President and Commander-In-Chief, we have an incompetent one a clueless one, who does not even bother about what is happening in the country”, the BBOG Co-convener said.
“Yesterday we buried seven military officers, the best that we have, the nation was in mourning and the President was a few minutes away from where they were and the president didn’t even turn up, what does that signify? It Is high time we begin to make serious demands on the president”.
“This is such a sad moment especially with the fact that our government has not learnt anything in spite of almost seven years of advocacy that we’ve been calling on the government to do the right thing and to do the needful to ensure that the citizens are protected.
“Before the Chibok Girl’s abduction, there was actually the Guniyadi killings where 29 boys were slaughtered in their schools”.
Speaking about what steps should be taken, Yesufu said “It is not in our place to give the way forward. His (the President’s) salaries are being paid for it, his needs are being taken care of. He was voted to give the way forward.
Suspected gunmen on Friday morning attacked a school in Zamfara State, abducting scores of students in the third mass abduction in the past three months in Africa’s most populous nation.
The attackers stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe in the wee hours of the day.
Hours later, the police authorities in the northwestern state confirmed that three hundred and seventeen students (317) were abducted in the latest kidnapping, a development which Amnesty International described as an “attack on education in Northern Nigeria.”
Friday’s attack by assailants is not an isolated case. In the past few years, schoolchildren have become the latest high-profile kidnapping targets in the country, especially in the northern part, raising concerns over the safety of educational institutions across the nation.
Here is a timeline of mass kidnappings in schools in the West African nation:
14th April 2014: Boko Haram Strikes Chibok
The first of these school abductions dates to April 14th, 2014 when terrorist group Boko Haram attacked the Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a town on the border between Borno and Adamawa states.
About two hundred students were said to have been kidnapped during the attack in the northeast, a region ravaged by incessant assaults by the terror group.
Nigeria’s security agencies in the wake of the abduction moved to rescue the schoolchildren. The efforts have yielded some results as 107 of them have been reunited with their families.
Despite fears that the students may not return home again, the country is not backing down on its quest to get all kidnapped schoolchildren back, President Muhammadu Buhari assured during the fifth-year anniversary of the incident.
19th Feb. 2018: Dapchi Girls Captured
Barely four years after the attack on Chibok, the insurgents took their onslaught to Yobe, another state in the troubled northeast region. The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed confirmed that 110 students were kidnapped after Boko Haram invaded the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, on Monday, February 19, 2018.
When the gunmen attacked the all-girls boarding school, many residents of the town had thought they were security forces as they came in camouflaged vehicles.
Although most of the students have reunited with their families after they were released (on March 21, 2018) by their abductors, Leah Sharibu, is yet to be freed by the gunmen. Reports suggest the 14-year-old, a Christian, wasn’t freed with the others because she refused to convert to Islam.
While the country battles to eradicate terror attacks from Boko Haram, mass kidnapping of schoolchildren spread to the northwestern region. On Friday, December 11th, bandits took three hundred and three students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina into captivity.
The incident which happened just as President Buhari embarked on a week-long vacation in his home state of Katsina, security experts believe, further underscored the porous nature of Nigerian schools.
But, a week after the students were taken into captivity, their abductors released them. The government denied paying a ransom to secure the students from the all-boys educational institution.
The presidency had said the release of the students is a pointer to the administration’s resolve to ensure the safety of Nigerians, thanking security agencies for their swiftness.
Feb. 17th 2021: Bandits Seize 41 In Kagara
Amid calls by several high-profile personalities to negotiate with and grant amnesty to bandits who have in recent times appeared emboldened in their attacks, 41 persons were kidnapped on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021 in a school in Niger State.
The gunmen raided the Government Science College Kagara, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, capturing students, teachers, and their family members from the school. Twenty-seven students were among the abductees.
Buhari had, following the incident, given a marching order to security agents to rescue the students and ensure they return and are reunited with their parents unhurt. The State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello had also ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the northcentral state, a move he said, was to forestall similar mass abduction.
26th Feb. 2021: 317 Female Students Abducted In Jangebe
Less than ten days after the bandits raided Kagara, gunmen kidnapped 317 schoolgirls from the Government Girls Science Secondary School Jangebe in Jangebe, Zamfara State. The incident happened on Friday, February 26th, 2021
The all-female school located in Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of the state was attacked past midnight. Police authorities in Zamfara say rescue efforts are in top gear, calling for calm among residents of the state.
“The girls abducted are in serious risk of being harmed. Nigerian authorities must take all measures to return them to safety, along with all children currently under the custody of armed groups,” rights group, Amnesty International, tweeted on its handle.
“Education is under attack in northern Nigeria. Schools should be places of safety, and no child should have to choose between their education and their life. Other children have had to abandon their education after being displaced by frequent violent attacks on their communities.”
The angry youths hurled stones at the vehicles and smashed part of the vehicle, causing injury on one of the cameramen, Babangida Calipha.
The situation at Jangebe community is tensed as residents have mobilised themselves blocking security operatives, journalists, and government officials from getting access to the main town.
In reaction to the abduction of the schoolgirls, the Zamfara Police Commissioner, Abutu Yaro said a joint search and rescue operation is already underway with a view to rescuing them.
Yaro added that the Force Commander Operations Hadarin Daji, Major General Aminu Bande, Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army Gusau, and other state government officials led a heavily armed re-enforcement team to Jangebe to complement the ongoing rescue operation in the locations where the students were believed to have been whisked to.