Reps decry fate of 136 abducted students in Niger State

• ask security agencies to deploy drones, helicopters

The House of Representatives on Thursday expressed displeasure over the failure of Federal and State Governments to rescue the 136 students who were abducted from Islamic School in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

Worried about the plight of the students, the lawmakers urged Federal Government to maintain constant collaboration with Niger State Government to secure the immediate release of 136 students.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Saidu Abdullahi on behalf of the Niger State caucus in the House of Representatives, called for the deployment of drones and helicopters in the insecurity-prone areas of Niger State to identify illegal camps of bandits and defeat them permanently.

The House equally tasked the National Security Adviser, Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to re-jig security architecture with a view of putting in place effective strategies and counter measures to curb escalating insecurity across Niger State.

They also urged the Federal Government to develop a mechanism that will ensure effective interagency collaboration, coordination and mutual synergy especially at ensuring that the Department of State Security Service (DSS) provides actionable and timely intelligence to the sister agencies in the fight against banditry, insurgency and terrorism.

According to Hon. Abdullahi, “for the past few months Niger State has been making critical headlines in the news due to the worsening activities of bandits, kidnappers and Boko Haram elements.

“The House is informed that: there was a mass abduction of about 136 Children from Mallam Salihu Tanko Islamic School in Tegina, Rafi LGA, Niger State recently; two weeks after the abduction, the children are still in captivity.

“The House is worried that these elements have been gruesomely torturing and killing innocent lives; destroying critical infrastructure and properties; carting away foodstuffs, rustling cattle and domestic animals; and instilling fears, tensions and anxieties in the minds of people across the state and country.

“The House is concerned that: the huge investments of this administration in the agricultural sector across the State have been practically frustrated as the farmers can no longer farm for a living as a direct result of the fear of attacks.

The aftermath is the aggravation of food insecurity and threats to the peaceful co-existence and socio-economic stability of the country.

“The House is further informed that: only for these few days, a Prince from Kontagora Emirate and others were killed; about five people were abducted from Batati, in Lavun Local Government Area; serial abductions of innocent people from Suleja Local Government Area were reported; and bandits were seen operating along Zungeru, Tegina and Kontagora axis of Niger State for days and nights without resistance.

“The House is aware that no fewer than 50 communities across Munya and Shiroro Local Government Areas of Niger State were sacked and over 3,000 people were displaced from their ancestral homes to seek refuge in IDPs Camps recently.

Also informed that the Military Camps in Allawa, Bassa and Zagzaga in the two Local Government Areas were overrun by the insurgents in their renewed attacks recently.

“The House is further concerned that these bandits now strike mostly in the daytime and operate without any challenge from the security agents. Their mode of operations remains the same; riding on motorcycles with not less than two to three of them on each motorcycle and fully armed. Sounds of gunshots rent the air to herald their arrival and scare the villagers, and anybody that comes across them is felled by their bullets.

“The House further notes that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as altered, specifically states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

“The House is disturbed that the operations of the Nigerian Military, NPF, DSS and NSCDC in the affected LGAs and generally in the States in tackling different kinds of internal security threats, have not yielded the desired result.

The lawmakers therefore called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; and Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) to undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the affected communities with a view to determining the extent of the destruction and providing relief to the affected persons, just as they mandated the Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

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