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Kagara abduction: Declare state of emergency on insecurity, Senate tells FG as Buhari orders immediate rescue of abducted schoolboys

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a military operation to rescue hundreds of students and teachers of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger State abducted during an early Wednesday morning raid by bandits.

The Senate, during its plenary on Wednesday, condemned in very strong terms the early morning abduction of the schoolboys, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on insecurity in the country.

President Buhari, in a statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, described the attack on the school as “brazen,” noted: “Following these reports, the President has directed the Armed Forces and Police, to ensure immediate and safe return of all the captives.

“The President has also dispatched to Minna, Niger State a team of security chiefs to coordinate the rescue operation and meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the College.

According to Shehu, President Buhari has 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 this saga, and avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future.

The heavily-armed bandits, who have been having a field day abducting and killing people and razing down communities, had dressed in military uniforms and stormed the Government Science College (GSC) in the town of Kagara in Niger state before hauling students into a nearby forest.

“Bandits went into GSC Kagara last night and kidnapped hundreds of students and their teachers,” said the official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“One of the kidnapped staff and some students managed to escape. The staff confirmed a student was shot dead during the kidnap operation,” said a security source.

The Senate call for declaration of a state of emergency followed consideration of a motion, “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 to 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; and 

“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; and

“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, 14th February 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, 17th 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. 

His words: “I believe that there is need for something new; a different initiative on especially how to protect our schools. And, let me be a little bit clear about the incident of abducting students from schools. Almost all incidents of abducting students from schools happen in northern Nigeria, and we all know how much efforts our leaders of yesterday, probably right from independence, worked so hard to ensure that children go to school in northern part of Nigeria. 

“With incidents like this, we will be reversing all the gains that were made in convincing parents and wards to take their children to school. So, there’s need for our security agencies and government to ensure that we come up with a strategy of ensuring security in schools, because with this spate of kidnapping or abductions, definitely there’ll be that negative adverse effect on the desire and willingness of parents to allow their children to go to schools.

“And, the consequences of not going to school are better imagined in 21st century Nigeria or 21st century world. So, the Service Chiefs-designate have their work and take clearly cut for them. Part of what they are supposed to carry on board is how to secure our schools in addition to so many other challenges that they have to deal with.

“I believe that the states have to be carried along, because the schools belong to the states. So, that partnership and cooperation between the security agencies and the states must be adhered to, so that the states cooperate fully with security agencies of government. With that, the whole country will be praying and waiting for our abducted children to be returned back to their parents secured and well”, Lawan said. 

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