Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the country’s police and the military to go after the abductors of the schoolgirls from Zamfara State and bring them to justice, warning that ransom payments will continue to prosper kidnapping,
The president also called for greater vigilance by citizens of the northwestern Zamfara State so that human intelligence could be collected early enough to nip the bandits’ plans in the bud.
President Buhari stated this on Tuesday hours after the release of 279 schoolgirls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, by their abductors.
A statement by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity quoted Buhari as having expressed “overwhelming joy” over the release of the abducted female students.
“I join the families and people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of these traumatized female students,” the statement read.
“President Buhari said he was excited that their ordeal came to a happy end without any incident, adding that being held in captivity is an agonizing experience not only for the victims but also their families and all of us.
“However, while celebrating the release of the students, the President called for greater vigilance by the people so that human intelligence could be collected early enough to nip the bandits’ plans in the bud.
He warned that the time has come to reverse, completely, the grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping.
“Ransom payments will continue to prosper kidnapping,” he warned while urging the Police and the military to go after the kidnappers and bring them to justice.
Meanwhile, Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle said the use non-kinetic approach (dialogue) ensured the safe release of the schoolgirls.
Responding to questions from journalists in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital on Tuesday, the governor said the release of the girls was made possible by dialogue.
He said the state will continue to dialogue with other bandits who have not accepted the peace deal.
“Without the non-kinetic approach, we would not have been able to secure the release of the children. And we’re going to continue with that non-kinetic approach so we can make those that did not accept the peace deal to accept our initiative,” the governor said.
“We’re going to try and re-strategise the best method so that we can bring everybody on board and they can understand this peace reconciliation.”
According to Governor Matawalle, the released girls will undergo counselling.
“I’m very exhausted and very devastated. I haven’t experienced this kind of situation but this is what God has destined to happen during my time and I thank God that with the prayers of Nigerians and other good citizens, we were able to secure their release,” he said.
“We have a counselling department and we are going to invite them, they are all here with us. They are going to undergo counselling.”
By Abel Ejikeme