In the early hours of Wednesday morning, gunmen abducted some students and staff of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
According to reports, the attackers stormed the school around 2am on Wednesday, and abducted staffs and students. A student, Benjamin Doma, who tried to escape was allegedly shot and killed immediately.
The school has a population of over 1,000 students, the gunmen reportedly abducted, 27 of them. 3 staff of the schools and 12 of their family members were also abducted.
President Muhammadu Buhari reacts, orders immediate rescue of victims;
The President has revealed that military and police have been dispatched for the immediate rescue of the victims.
Buhari in a statement through his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said that the president demanded that the victims be rescued immediately.
“Following these reports, the President has directed the Armed Forces and Police, to ensure immediate and safe return of all the captives.
“The President has also dispatched to Minna, Niger State a team of security chiefs to coordinate the rescue operation and meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the College.
“President Buhari has assured of the support of his administration to the Armed Forces in their brave struggle against terrorism and banditry and urged them to do all that can be done to bring an end to this saga, and avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future.
“’Our prayers are with families of the victims of this attack,” said the President as he condemned as cowardly the attack on innocent school children.”
Federal Government, Niger Government negotiating with gunmen
The Federal Government and the Niger State Government are reportedly currently negotiating with the gunmen.
The Governor of Niger State, Sani Bello, who spoke to newsmen on Wednesday said 27 students, 3 staff and 12 members of their families were abducted.
The governor ordered that boarding schools in Rafi, Munya, Mariga and Shiroro local government areas be closed indefinitely.
“We are deeply concerned at this recent sad events and are asking the federal government to deploy every necessary resources while we will look at all options, both kinetic and non-kinetic to ensure the safe return of the victims of both incidents. We will not rest or sleep until we bring them back to their families.” the governor said.
“Tension is high and the situation is very serious. We are saddened by all these development. We have been having attacks before and we have been working to settle it but in this past few days, the attacks have been so daring that it caught our attention. We pray that God will show us the way of getting them back safely,” he added.
Few months ago, gunmen invaded the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, where over 300 students were abducted. The students were reportedly released after huge ransom was paid, but the authorities over denied paying any dime.
According to unconfirmed report (as seen on Daily Trust), the authorities have reached out to some Fulani leaders and repentant bandits who have contacts with the gunmen to negotiate the release of victims.
“Already some breakthroughs are being made. We were able to establish that the abductors were Fulani boys from one of the camps in Kaduna forests, bordering Niger to the south and Zamfara to the north. We have made contacts already,” an undisclosed sources told Daily Trust.
“But the major snag now is getting them to agree easily because in Kaduna there is no trust between the bandits and the government. But persons with the reach are working on creating an avenue to sit with leaders of the abductors, the elders who can force them into acceding to the request,” the source added.
The Principal of the school, Dan Asabe Ebaidu, said that the number of gunmen that invaded the school could not be ascertained, adding that he had never saw something like that before.
He revealed that the gunmen abducted the students after they had first raided the staff quarters.
Some of the staff abducted by the gunmen were identified as; Lawal, Ali, Hannatu and her husband, Dodo, and Mohammed Abubakar (Akawu).
A staff identified as Batagi, escaped from them.
Inspector General of Police, Lai Mohammed, NSA reacts
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has expressed concern over the abduction of the students.
The IGP who was among the FG delegation led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to Niger State on Wednesday said; “We have restrategised. We are working to ensure that the students are returned unharmed. We are using the same strategy as we used in the past case but it won’t stop us from apprehending those who committed the act. We have deployed our units of mobile policemen to reinforce security in the state. The group that perpetrated the incident, we know the group and we will get the people back unharmed,” he said.
Lai Mohammed said that they were sent to the school by President Muhammadu Buhari to assure the people of Niger State that his (Buhari’s) government will ensure the safety of lives and properties in Nigeria.
“We are glad that the government is exploring kinetic and non-kinetic options to ensure the safe release of the victims. We will deploy all resources to ensure the safe release of the victims. We want to assure Nigerians that we will not surrender our sovereignty but will employ all means to ensure the safe release of all the victims across Nigeria,” Lai Mohammed said.
Other members of the delegation included the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno; and Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi.
The NSA said; “The president is ready to apply whatever it takes to make Nigeria safe and secure. Our response to these incidents would be measured. We will apply the non -kinetic measures but although we are looking at non-kinetic measures does not mean that security won’t carry out their statutory measures, which is to safeguard the security of Nigerians for as long as this government remains in this office, by applying every measure to secure the lives of the people.
“No responsible government will relinquish its sovereignty to bandits, kidnappers, and insurgents. That is not something that the government will apply. There are too many issues involved in our security challenges and there will be series of efforts to resolve them.”
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.