Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has said the rescued kidnapped victims of the Government Science College Kagara went through tremendous torture in the hands of their abductors.
Bello stated this when he received the victims at the Government House Minna, at about 4 am Saturday, saying they would undergo series of medical checks before they would be reunited with their family members.
“All the rescued victims are here with us, however, one of them is in the hospital for excessive exhaustion. Thank God they are back here with us peacefully. They have been medically checked and I believe the medical team will monitor them for a few more days,” Bello said.
He explained that the rescue operation was a joint effort of “the government, security agencies, traditional rulers and other major stakeholders” saying “There is still a lot of work before us.
“Going forward, we are putting in place a system to look at the causes of these events” Bello said, pointing out that the solutions to the “dastardly acts” would be found in ” the next few days”.
Thirty-eight persons were rescued from the kidnappers according to Governor Bello though earlier figure released by government put the number of those abducted at 42.
During the early morning raid on February 17, one of the students Benjamin B Habila was killed while trying to escape from the bandits.
Meanwhile, Matawalle, in a statewide broadcast on Friday evening, described the abduction of the schoolgirls as a setback but assured the people that his administration would remained determined and committed to the ongoing disarmament process in the state.
The governor reiterated that the state government remained wholly committed to ensuring a speedy rescue of the teenage captives and reuniting them with their families.
“I wish to assure everyone that we are wholly committed to ensuring a speedy rescue of our dear schoolgirls and reuniting them with their families. Since when I received the sad news, I have been making contacts with the security agencies and other relevant individuals and groups towards rescuing these girls.
“Despite this seeming setback, my administration will ever remain focused on its strategy of disarmament. A single bullet in the hands of the non-state rogue elements could result in severe harm to the innocent.
“I am of the conviction that the large cache of assorted weapons recovered through the disarmament process has made Zamfara State safer despite the recent unfortunate incidents. The type of dangerous weapons recovered through the disarmament process would make the heart of any person of conscience to cringe,” he stated.
While calling for the adoption of a uniform strategy across all the states facing security challenges orchestrated by bandits and insurgents, the governor said only united response devoid of political differences would ward off insecurity bedeviling the country.
He, therefore, admonished residents of the state to remain calm and resist what he termed the evil machinations of those, who would want to exploit the current situation to achieve political ends.
His words: “I also call on people to be more security conscious and report any suspicious individuals or activities to the relevant authorities.
“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”.
Meanwhile the PDP has asked President Muhammadu Buhari presidency to speak out on the alleged complicity of the military and certain officials of the government in the abduction of 300 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State by terrorists.
The party described as alarming, the allegations in the public space especially, by the Northern Youth Movement (NYM), of compromises by the military, which paved the way for the invasion of the school reportedly located less than 100 meters to a military check point to abduct over 300 schoolgirls.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, stated: “Our party demands explanations to reports that soldiers stormed the community two hours earlier and ordered residents to clear the streets and retire to their houses, only for the bandits to invade the town, assaulted the school and carted away 300 innocent girls without any impediments.”
Moreover, the PDP said there were already insinuations in the public space that the abduction was plotted by unscrupulous high-level officials of the Buhari Presidency, who were allegedly benefitting from the insurgency, terrorism and banditry going on in the country.
In tasking the Buhari Presidency, the PDP demanded that the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Mongunu, should come clean on the allegations that the escalation of acts of terrorism including the rampant kidnapping of students, were masterminded to heat up the situation and justify the demand for huge allocations for the anti-terrorism effort.
“Our party and indeed, all well-meaning Nigerians, insist that the Buhari Presidency must not keep quiet in the face of these huge allegations but immediately clear the air and restore confidence in the hearts of Nigerians, before it is too late,” the PDP spokesperson said.
Laleye Dipo in Minna