Sani-Bello’s order to special squad: Comb the forest and free 136 kid-abductees

Niger state  Governor  Abubakar  Sani  Bello  has  ordered a combined  security  squad  to comb the forest and battle the bandits to rescue the 136 children abducted over two weeks  ago.

His action is coming on the heel of a similar feat in Kebbi where the governor, Atiku Bagudu vowed to crush abductors of some unspecified number of students and staff members of Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri Thursday.

The move by Bagudu, who insisted on no ransom for the hoodlums, is yielding the desired result as 11 of the captives had been rescued as at the time of this report.

Bello’s past outcry    

Governor Sani Bello had at various times cried out to the federal government to come to his people’s aid who had remained under bandits’ siege.

And when none seemed to be coming, the governor accused Abuja of abandoning his people to their fate, warning that Abuja was not also safe as the criminal elements were just two hours away from the nation’s capital city.

Further to that, the governor was also quoted to have recently said there were informants within his government.

Time to act

But talking tough and set for action, the governor said he was ready to take the battle to the bandits’ hideouts.

 Addressing a security squad comprising the Military, Police, Civil Defence, and Vigilante Corps at Kagara, Rafi local government area of the state Monday, the governor said the government had resolved to take decisive measures in ensuring the safe return of the children. 

 “Even though we have ruled out payment of ransom, it is time for government to take decisive measures towards ending the bandits’ activity that is forcefully changing the lives of the people especially in the rural areas.

“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,” the governor said.  

Recalling how banditry started in the state, the governor said the criminals “displaced farmers from their farmlands before moving to burning farms,  kidnappings and forcing us to close our schools. Now they have started attacking Islamic schools, only God knows what is next.”

Governor Sani Bello further said “most of the bandits are foreigners hired to cause problems for us. The true Fulani herdsmen don’t indulge in this kind of acts.”

He called on the federal government to “collaborate with neighbouring countries to flush them out since it is clear that these bandits are foreigners.

“These bandits are well organised and coordinated. We cannot fold our arms anymore but to take decisive and necessary steps to apprehend those involved both the informants and the bandits.”

Sani Bello commended the security personnel for their efforts at tackling the bandits in the last few weeks, adding, logistics had been provided to enhance the assessment. 

The governor mourned the recent killing of 20 Vigilante Corps Members by the bandits in Magama local government. 

While  at the  palace  of the  Emir of Kagara, Governor Sani Bello  commiserated with parents  of  the  abducted  children,  urging them to exercise patience as government was exploring all avenues to ensure their safe rescue.

Headmaster speaks

Addressing journalists, headmaster of the Islamiyyah School, Mallam Abubakar Alhassan commended government’s resolve to combat the bandits, saying “this is a welcome development provided that the children will be brought back safely.”

He said 15 of his teachers escaped from their abductors in Zamfara state with 4 already in Kagara and 11 in military facility in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna state where they would be handed over to the Niger state government soon.

Oyo on insecurity

In a related development, Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde has declared that his government would continue to take the issue of security of lives and property seriously to ensure people go about their lawful endeavours.

The governor stated this in Ibadan Monday  while speaking at the inauguration of the Board of the Oyo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun, held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan,

Governor Makinde stressed that his administration was committed to tackling the security challenges in the state; assuring people of the state would see more visible actions from government to secure the state.

The governor maintained that contrary to the negative pictures being painted by those hell-bent on politicising the security situation, a lot more people and businesses have been coming to the state as a result of the policies of the administration.

“Well, some of these people are saying insecurity is the major challenge in Oyo state. Yes, the country is going through quite a bit but I challenge them to a debate. I am ready. Let them come and tell us what they will be doing differently. They have nothing to offer the people of Oyo state apart from wanting to ride on the perception of insecurity to gain prominence. 

“I have been listening and watching people trying to politicise the issue of security. Well, I want to appeal to such individuals within the state; it is our state and it is only God that puts people in position. If you want to destroy your state before everybody to gain political power, I wonder what kind of state such an individual or group of people will want to preside over.

“We have seen cases where they doctored videos to discredit Amotekun. We have seen cases where people go out and lie outright. Now, everybody has been on the street as an advisor on security.  They have all sorts of advice they gave to me and I asked them where they practiced their own security. They have not gone beyond their streets, maybe they organised neighbourhood watch and they think that it is the qualification on how to advise us on the issue of security.”

He further said: “We know that because of the policies of this administration, a lot of people are coming into Oyo State, and when you have more and more people coming in, it will come with its own set of challenges and with opportunities as well.

“In the days ahead, we will also let the people of Oyo State know the things we are doing as far as security is concerned. And when they see security operatives all around, they must give them total support.” 

The governor stated that  the 12-member Board has as its chairman Brigadier-General Ajibola Kunle Togun (rtd) and Mrs. Akinbode Iyabode Enitan as Secretary with some of its members to include the Amotekun Commandant, Colonel Bisiriyu Olayinka Olayanju (rtd), the Commissioner of Police; State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Defence Corps; representative of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the state; and the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Security Trust Fund and Special Adviser on Security, COMPOL Fatai Owoseni (rtd) among others.

About Aideloje Ojo, Minna and Bayo Agboola, Ibadan

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