Reps raise alarm over abduction of Ahmadu Bello University students

•Ask IGP to set up Police Unit in all tertiary institutions

Members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed grave concern over the activities of kidnappers who engaged in the abduction of students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State and other tertiary institutions across the country.

The lawmakers expressed the concern during the debate on a motion on Urgent need to address the security threats posed by the phenomenon of banditry (particularly kidnapping and abduction) to the campuses of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and other tertiary institutions across the nation,’ sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Garba Datti.

In his lead debate, Hon. Datti stated that the activities of bandits who have now embarked on a spree of abductions of staff and students of the university is becoming a dangerous trend and increasing the level of fear and unrest in the campus and its environs.

In the bid to ensure the safety of Nigerian students, he called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to set up a Police Unit at the campus to enforce security.

The lawmaker who observed that the state of insecurity in Nigeria has been a matter of grave concern to all well-meaning patriots for several years now lamented that the state of insecurity in Kaduna State has degenerated to alarming levels in spite of the well-meaning efforts of Government to put an end to it and that this insecurity has come in the form of armed banditry.

“The House equally recalls the activities of these armed bandits, who have now embarked on a spate of kidnappings and abductions of the Ahmadu Bello University staff and students and other members of the University’s community, particularly at its Samaru Campus but also outside their campuses and the fact that these dangerous activities have reached perilous levels.

“The House is distressed that on the 17th November 2020, nine (9) students of the university were kidnapped along Kaduna-Abuja Road while the bandits sent a ransom demand of N270 million for the release of the students.

“The House is further distressed that only on Monday 23rd November 2020 at about 12.50 am, armed bandits, invaded the house of another staff, Professor Bakari Girei and abducted him, his wife and daughter and, only after an exchange of fire with the Police Intelligence Response Team did the bandits release the wife and daughter while they escaped with the Professor;

“The House is aware and anxious that Professor Girei remains in captivity with the bandits as of this moment while the invasions are continuing unabated.

“The House notes that the bandits have been substantially aided in their wicked, despicable and nefarious activities by the absence of a wall or fence around the Samaru Campus of the University unlike what is obtainable at the campus of the University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri and the Gwagwalada campuses of the University of Abuja.

“The House further notes that the bandits have also been substantially aided by the fact that it shares borders with Southern Katsina, particularly Sabuwa Local Government, where the activities of the bandits have escalated in geometric proportions as well as the Kuyello area of Birnin Gwari, another hotspot for such criminalities and that the forests in these border locations have become havens for these criminal activities.

“The House is concerned that these border locations have made it easier for the bandits to penetrate the porous borders of the campus while making staff and students easy prey.

“The House is worried that the sad consequence of this state of affairs is that the University now stands the serious risk of being unable to promise the serene and conducive atmosphere that is a sine qua non for its purpose as an institution of higher learning.

“The House is cognisant that the University is a community that houses over 60,000 staff and students with origins spread across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The House is equally cognizant that no other tertiary institution in Nigeria is as representative of the diverse peoples and cultures of our nation as the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

“The House is mindful, therefore, that this emergency has become a national emergency that touches every Nigerian and that the overriding need to protect this heritage cannot be overstated.

“The House is conscious that our basic, supreme law, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) in its section 14(2)(b) proclaims the security and welfare of the people to be the primary purpose of government (emphasis added).

“The House is equally conscious that security is one of the paramount policies of the current administration for which it has left no stone unturned towards neutralising this terrorist scourge.

“The House is alarmed that if this trend of attacking university campuses is not halted, only chaos and anarchy will reign in our ivory towers where serenity is an inevitable precondition to academic prosperity.

“The House is determined that this matter must be resolved as a matter of urgency, especially now that universities, whose activities have been severely disrupted by industrial actions and the COVID-19 pandemic, are poised to fully resume academic studies and to avoid further protracted disruption of academic activities,” he urged.

While ruling on the motion, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committee Tertiary Education as well as that on National Security and Intelligence to investigate and report back to the House.

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