Gov Bello inaugurates combined security taskforce to locate, free abducted Islamiyya students, staff

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has inaugurated a combined team of security agencies to ensure the release of the 136 abducted students and staff of the Salihu Tanko Islamiya School in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of the state.

The governor stated this on Monday while addressing the security agents which include officers of the military, police, civil defence and vigilante corps, stressing that his government has resolved to take decisive measures in ensuring the safe return of the children and their teachers.

Earlier, the governor who held a meeting with the parents of the 136 kidnapped students of the Islammiya School and other stakeholders at the palace of the Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Ahmed Garba Gunna, commiserated with them and urged them to exercise some little patience as the government was exploring all avenues to see to their safe rescue from the bandits.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello during his visit to Emir of Kagara Alhaji Ahmad Garba Gunna on Monday

The governor said, “even though we have ruled out payment of ransom, it is time for the government to take decisive measures towards ending the illegal bandits’ activities that are forcefully changing the lives of the people of the state, especially in the rural areas.”

He further highlighted that the hoodlums started by displacing farmers from their farmlands, adding that the next thing they did was to burning farms, after which they moved to kidnappings and forcing the state government to close its schools, saying “now they have started attacking Islamic schools, only God knows what is next.”

Governor Bello revealed that “most of these bandits are from outside the country, they are hired to cause problems for us. It is not the habit of the true Fulanis to indulge in this kind of criminal activity. These bandits are well organised and coordinated. We cannot fold our arms anymore but take decisive and necessary steps towards apprehending those involved, both the informants and the bandits.”

He thereby commended the security personnel for their efforts in fighting the bandits in the last few weeks, just as he revealed that logistics have been provided, adding that “your allowances and other financial benefits will always be provided as and when due.”

The governor, who mourned the killing of 20 Vigilante Corps members by the bandits in Magama Local Government Area of the state, however, called on the Federal Government to without further delay collaborate with her neighbouring countries as saying “from all indications, these bandits are foreigners.”

The Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Ahmad Garba Gunna, Attahiru II thanked the governor for all his support especially in securing the area and the support given to the aggrieved families of the kidnapped school children.

Headmaster of the Islamiyyah School, Mallam Abubakar Alhassan Garba, told journalists that 15 teachers have escaped from the hands of their abductors in Zamfara State with four already in Kagara and 11 in a military facility in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State where they will be handed over to the Niger State government soon.

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