Nationwide outrage as bandits murder Greenfield University students

Muhammad Sabiu | Kaduna, Lanre Adewole, Tunbosun Ogundare | Lagos, Isaac Shobayo | Jos, Ebenezer Adurokiya | Warri and Adelowo Oladipo | Minna

NATIONWIDE outrage on Friday greeted the news of the killing of three of the kidnapped students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, by their abductors. 

Individuals and groups from different sections of the country, including lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN); a member of the eighth National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Association of Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOMBEN) expressed fury over the killing of the students. 

An unspecified number of students had been abducted from the university located at Kasarami village off Kaduna-Abuja Road in Chikun Local Government Area on Tuesday night with a ransom demand made by the kidnappers for their release. 

However, it was announced on Friday that the bandits had shot dead three of the abducted students. 

The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said in a statement that the remains of three students were found on Friday in Kwanan Bature, a village near the university. 

According to Aruwan, he and the Force Commander, Operation Thunder Strike, Lieutenant-Colonel M. H. Abdullahi, have evacuated the bodies to a mortuary. 

He quoted Governor Nasir El-Rufai as condemning the killing of the students and describing it as “sheer wickedness, inhumanity and outright desecration of human lives by vile entities.” 

The governor said the bandits represent the worst of humankind and must be fought at all costs for the violent wickedness they represent, the commissioner said. 

The governor appealed to citizens to come together against the forces of darkness challenging national security and the very existence of the Nigerian state. 

The governor, on behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State, sent deep condolences and empathy to the students’ families and the university community, as he prayed for the repose of their souls, Aruwan added. 

In its reaction, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) condemned the killing, describing it as heinous and unacceptable. The group charged President Muhammadu Buhari to rise to the challenge and deal with the elements threatening the stability of the country. 

The National Publicity Secretary, PANDEF, Ken Robinson, expressed condolences to the parents of the killed scholars. 

“PANDEF condemns in the strongest terms the reported killing of three of the students that were abducted from a private university in Kaduna State on Tuesday by bandits. “This is one incident too many, it is infernal and despicable; totally unacceptable. We cannot continue like this, a situation where terrorists, bandits and other criminal-minded elements go about freely perpetrating heinous crimes; kidnapping and killing innocent Nigerians, with the security agencies seemingly helpless and even vulnerable. 

“While we condole with the families of the murdered students, the management, staff and students of the university, over the unfortunate incident, PANDEF reiterates its call on President Muhammadu Buhari to rise to the challenge and deal decisively with these groups threatening the stability of the country, before it is too late,” Robinson said. 

Also, the Association of Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOMBEN) stated that the killing of the students, among other frightening incidents across Nigeria were signs of a failed country. The president of the association, Mr Sule Kwasau, said it was unfortunate that the administration of President Buhari was incapable of taming the insecurity ravaging the country on different fronts. Kwasau said based on this singular incident, the Federal Government and Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State had breached the country’s constitution and deserved to be impeached. 

He said: “The Nigerian government has failed the citizenry. The primary responsibility of any government is to protect lives and properties but they have failed in this regard and as well breached the constitution. 

“The killing of these university students, among others, is an evidence of the collapse of the security architecture in the country. This calls for a rejig of the system. It is more urgent because of the innocent lives that are being lost on a daily basis. 

“It is also a shame that Nigeria, which brands itself as giant of Africa, could allow foreign ragtag bandits, kidnappers, Boko Haram elements to decimate its population. If we had a functional National Assembly, the president would have been impeached a long time ago because he is not living up to expectations regarding the security of this country. 

“It is unfortunate that the governor of Katsina State, Bello Masari, could say that Mr President has not failed this country. Governor Masari is simply trying to paint black as white. At the same time, the youths of this country are not ready for leadership. The youths should rise and take their rightful place.” 

He said 2023 is another opportunity for the youths and entire Nigerians to reinvent the country, adding that President Buhari and other elected politicians who came to power on the mantra of change had failed the country and consequently threw it into a mess that would take years to recover. 

Kwasau blamed Governor El-Rufai for his posture towards insecurity in his state and charged him to reconsider his stance and position on nonpayment of ransom. 

“In the past two months, quite a lot of people, especially students, have been kidnapped and the kidnappers are not ready to bulge. The most unfortunate was the killing of three students of Greenfield University. It is high time his government reviewed the position. If they are his relations, won’t he negotiate? 

“The governor of Kaduna State has also failed. It is like the kidnappers and bandits are having a field day in his state without any concrete arrangements to arrest the situation,” he said. 

In his own reaction, a member of the eighth National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, condemned the killing of the three university students by kidnappers. 

In a tweet via his verified Twitter handle on Friday, Sani described the killing of the students as tragic. He prayed that their souls rest in peace and urged Nigerians to also pray for the two nurses that were abducted from Kajuru hospital on Thursday. 

“It’s tragic to learn that three of the students of the Kaduna Greenfield University were murdered by the bandits who abducted them. May their souls rest in peace. Let’s pray for the lives of the two nurses abducted at the Kajuru Hospital yesterday,” he tweeted. 

 

Nigerians should mount pressure on FG, govs –Falana 

Leading rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, in his reaction, urged Nigerians to bring greater pressure on their leaders to secure lives and property. In a statement to Saturday Tribune, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the Nigerian state must bear full responsibility for the barbaric murder of the undergraduates. 

He said: “Our hearts go to the parents and family members of the students who have been brutally murdered by a gang of bandits operating without any serious challenge in Kaduna State. 

“The neocolonial state should bear full responsibility for the barbaric murder of the unarmed undergraduates. 

“We call on the Nigerian people to mount pressure on the Federal Government and the various state governments to secure the life and property of every person in Nigeria. 

“Enough of meaningless expression of sympathy with families of young men and women abducted and killed due to the failure of the government to protect them.” 

No Nigerian school is safe again, Nigerians react 

A cross-section of other Nigerians also condemned the killing of three students. They described the killing as shocking, barbaric and sheer wickedness. 

The Deputy National President of the ParentTeacher Association of Nigeria (NPTAN), Chief Deolu Ogunbajo, said he received the news with shock. Ogunbajo said the current situation of Nigeria whereby bandits invade schools at will, abduct students and school workers and collect huge ransoms on them with nobody being brought to book at the end of the day would continue to put innocent lives in danger. 

He said the free manner the kidnappers now move from primary schools to tertiary institutions to abduct students had shown that no place, and not even school, was safe again in the country. He said what the Federal Government would needed to do now to tackle the security crisis in the country was to declare bandits as terrorists so as to get help from the international community. 

A former Minister of Education, Professor Chinwe Obaji, on her part, said she was yet to hear the news when Saturday Tribune asked for her reaction on phone around 6.30 p.m. She however, expressed shock at the news, saying that the Nigerian situation looked totally confusing. Professor Obaji said the worst part of it was to see people, particularly at the corridors of power, giving different interpretations to sincere and genuine comments of people outside the government circle.

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