…As Bello Orders Rescue Operation
By Nkasi Kolie
In what looks like a collapse in negotiation between the Niger State Government and armed bandits for the release of the 136 abducted students of the Salihu Tanko Islamiya School in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of the state, the state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello has ordered a full scale rescue operation to free the children.
About 1,000 security agents, drawn from the Army, the Police, Civil Defense, local hunters and local vigilantes have been mobilized for the rescue operation.
This is coming almost three weeks after the abduction of the school children and after series of negotiations between the parents and the bandits on one hand and between the government and bandits on the other hand.
Addressing the security agents in Kagara, Rafi LGA on Monday, the Governor said the rescue operation had become necessary as it was obvious that the bandits were being insincere with the negotiation.
“The abductors are not honest, they are not honourable. After agreeing with parents they started shifting goal post and now we are here to take action”.
Bello pointed out that since the government has ruled out payment of ransom it was time to take a decisive action against the bandits.
“Now that we have ruled out payment of ransom, it is time for government to take decisive measures towards ending the bandits activities that is forcefully changing the lives of the people especially in the rural areas.
“We have to try 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 moved to kidnappings and forcing us to close our schools, now they have started attacking Islamic schools, only God knows what is next.
The Governor disclosed 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 Fulani to indulge in this kind of act. These bandits are well organised and coordinated. We can not fold our arms anymore but to take decisive and necessary steps to apprehend those involved, both the informants and the bandits.”
The Governor had earlier met with 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, where he commiserated with them and urged them to exercise patience as government was exploring all avenues to ensure the safe rescue of the children.
While commending the security personnel for their efforts in fighting the bandits in the last few weeks, Governor Sani Bello revealed that logistics have been provided, adding that “your allowances and other financial benefits will always be provided as at when due”.
The governor who expressed sadness over the killing of 20 Vigilante Corps Members by the bandits in Magama Local Government recently however, called on the Federal government to collaborate with her neighboring countries, saying “from all indications, these bandits are foreigners”.
The Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Ahmad Garba Gunna, Attahiru II thanked the governor for all the support to the Emirate, especially in the area of security and the support so far given to the family of the kidnapped school children.