The kidnap of some students of Federal University Gusau, Zamfara state has continued to generate reactions with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu giving the security agents a marching order to rescue the remaining female students.
According to reports, the terrorists hit the Sabon Gida-female hostel as early as 4.00am Friday, shooting sporadically into the air and abducting the female students in their numbers.
Although the number was yet to be ascertained, it was, however, gathered that security agents were able to rescue some of the girls, with the others still in the abductors’ den.
Also, on the same day, some construction workers, about nine, were abducted on the university campus.
Condemning the reprehensible act of abduction, President Tinubu said there was no moral justification for such heinous crimes against innocent victims whose only ‘offense’ was their pursuit of quality education.
The president commiserated with all the families directly impacted by the sad incident, stressing that his administration has a solemn duty to protect every Nigerian citizen, and in line with this commitment.
He assured the families of the abducted students that no effort would be spared at ensuring their safe return.
The president said the federal government was “determined to ensure that educational institutions remain sanctuaries of knowledge, growth, and opportunity, and totally free from the menacing acts of terrorists.”
ACF seeks new strategies
Commenting on the abduction, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) called on the federal government to re-jig its security architecture and put an end to incessant acts of kidnapping across the country.
The group also urged the federal government to immediately secure release of the female students kidnapped in Zamfara state.
In a statement Sunday in Kaduna by the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Professor Tukur Muhammad-Baba, the ACF tasked government to come up with new multi-pronged containment strategies against security and related existential threats bedeviling schools.
“Such new strategies should aim at the total eradication of the scourge of banditry and terrorism across the country. ACF calls on the federal government to spare no efforts in ensuring that the abducted students are released unharmed.
“Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) received news about the abduction of mostly female students of the Federal University Gusau (FUGUS), from their private hostels, at Sabon Gida village, Bungudu local government area of Zamfara state with utter consternation. Testimonies from witnesses to the disturbing incident suggest that the attack was well planned, coordinated and executed by the terrorists. Evidently, female students were specifically targeted, and the bandits were at the crime scene fully prepared.
“Efforts to repel the bandits by elements of the Nigerian Army neither deterred nor stopped the bandits from going off with a yet-to-be fully ascertained number of hapless victims. ACF condemns the abductions in the strongest of terms. It is very disconcerting that such a most unfortunate criminal incident is not the first of its kind in memory but it certainly is one abduction far too many to occur in any community in Nigeria.
“The incident is even more worrisome, being of far reaching negative implications, for access to education which, especially for the girl-child, is subject to many formidable challenges in the best of times. A pointer to the unfolding tragedy is an apparent voice note on social media, where a girl was heard stating that her father had called her home, ordering that her pursuit of a university degree be abandoned; another was heard advising intending candidates for admission not to select this particular institution as place of choice.
“This is an absolutely and highly regrettable development to be condemned in all its ramifications. ACF therefore: Commiserates with the victims of the attack, their parents and FUGUS; Calls for and prays for the immediate and unconditional release of the abducted students unharmed; Commends the security forces for their gallant response, even if ineffective in stopping the bandits in their sordid mission. ACF calls on the security forces not to relent in the efforts to contain banditry and terrorism in Zamfara state and elsewhere in the country.
“ACF commends the Zamfara state government for its timely and quick response to the situation through a high-powered delegation on a confidence-building visit to the scene to commiserate and reassure the community about the government’s commitment to citizens’ safety and security.
“ACF commends the Zamfara state government for immediately convening a meeting with the security agencies to review the situation and re-strategize; and finally;
“As always, ACF urges the FGN to rejig Nigeria’s security architecture and to come up with new multi-pronged containment strategies against security and related existential threats bedeviling schools and indeed all communities. Such new strategies should aim at the total eradication of the scourge of banditry and terrorism country-wide.”
Also, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG-SW) Sunday called on government to mobilise all necessary resources and collaborate with relevant security agencies to rescue the abducted university students without further delay.
The North-west coordinator, students’ wing, Muhammad Bello Aliyu, in a press statement issued in Abuja, said time is of the essence and every effort must be made to ensure their prompt and safe return.
He stated that the appalling incident is not only a reminder of the grave security challenges the nation faces but also a call to action for all concerned parties.
Aliyu said “the North-west chapter of the Students’ Wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) condemns in the strongest terms this brazen act of violence and calls on the government to take immediate and decisive action to ensure the safe release of the abducted students.”
The CNG-SW also said “it is disheartening to witness the recurring cycle of violence and insecurity that continues to plague our educational institutions and threaten the future of our young people”.
He said the trauma and anguish endured by the affected students, their families, and the entire education community cannot be overstated.
“Furthermore, we urge the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to lend their voice to this cause and actively engage with the government to ensure that our educational institutions are safe for both students and staff,” the statement further added.