Mustapha Muhammad Tukur
The Niger State Government on Monday launched a special security squad to ensure the safe return of the pupils abducted on May 30 from Islamic school – the Tegina Islamiyyah School and counter banditry in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Niger state Government, Mary Barje, who disclosed this in a statement said the outfit was unveiled in Minna, the state capital and that it is made up of combined security personnel which were immediately deployed in Rafi Local Government Area, the statement said.
The pupils’ abduction was confirmed by the police and some residents of Tegina, in Rafi Local Government Area of the state.
The Nation reported that at the inauguration, the governor, Abubakar Sani Bello Lolo said the time had come for the state government to take decisive action once and for all, to end banditry in the state.
He said: “We will give you all the necessary support to enable you to implement all your security strategies to ensure safe return of our abducted children and others, if any.
“We have tried our possible best not to make them succeed in forcing us to change our normal lives;they started by displacing farmers from their farmlands, next they moved to burning farms.
“Then, they moved to kidnapping and forcing us to close our schools, now they have started attacking Islamic schools, only God knows what is next.”
The governor told the squad members that logistics had been provided for them, promising that their allowances and other financial benefits would always be provided as and when due.
He commended the security personnel for their efforts in the ongoing fight against bandits and other criminal elements in the state.
“I mourn the killing of 20 vigilance corps members by the bandits in Magama Local Government Area,” he said.
Gov. Lolo had earlier met with parents of the abducted school children at the palace of the Emir of Kagara, Ahmed Gunna, where he urged them to be patience as the government was exploring all avenues to ensure the safe rescue of their wards.
The emir thanked the governor for all his support to his domain, especially in the area of security, and the support given to the family of the kidnapped school children.
On his own part, the headmaster of the school, Abubakar Alhassan, disclosed that 15 of the teachers abducted from the school had escaped from the hands of their captors in Zamfara.
Mr Alhassan said the teachers are now in a military facility in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, where they would soon be handed over to the government.