By Kenny EMMANUEL
The federal government has asserted that it was not negotiating with terrorists to secure the release of abducted students of the Federal University of Gusau and others in Zamfara state.
The FG describes as false, the claim by the State Governor, Dauda Lawal that it was negotiating with bandits in the state thereby making its fight against insecurity difficult.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday in Abuja by Mr Hope Attari, Acting Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Defence, the federal government insisted that it was rather working assiduously round the clock to ensure that the abducted students and others return home unhurt.
According to the statement, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and his State counterpart Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle again reassured Zamfara citizenry and Nigerians of the progress being made for the quick return of the abducted female students and others of Federal University Gusau.
It stated that the duo expressed confidence that the joint security task forces were working discreetly round the clock to get the students rescued.
According to it, “reacting to the Statement credited to Governor Lawal of Zamfara State that Federal Government was negotiating with the Zamfara terrorists to secure the release of the abducted, the Minister debunked the claim and allegation pointing out that Federal Government is working assiduously round the clock to ensure that the girls and others return home.
“The Minister said that the allegation is false and misleading as the Ministry has not mandated anybody or group to negotiate on behalf of Federal Government. He explained that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has given marching order to Military and other security agencies to ensure the release of those that were abducted.
“He said that the order of Mr. President has started yielding result has 13 of the abducted students and 3 others regained their freedom just this Monday 25, 2023 This feat was achieved through the professional efforts of the Military.
“Badaru, while condemning the act, said that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to secure their release.
“He extended his heartfelt sympathy to the parents, the academic community, and the entire citizenry of Zamfara State for the tragic abduction.
“He however consoled the families of the girls and others that abducted, saying: ‘I share in your pain and strongly condemn this reprehensible act carried out by suspected bandits.’”
It further added that on his part, the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle, also condemned the attack in all totality and called on the nation’s dedicated security forces to intensify efforts and deploy every available resource to secure the safe return of the abducted students.
He said that all hands must be on deck in securing the release of the abducted students.
“As part of President Bola Ahmed Tinibu’s eight point agenda of strengthening national security for peace and prosperity, I condemn and vow to secure the release of the abducted students.”
While also assuring the citizens of the State, Dr. Matawalle said that air and ground components of the military have already been massively deployed within the state as every measure will be taken to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians.