(Featured photo: Deputy Governor Ketso with other top government officials, briefing journalists at the Government House, Minna)
Niger State Government is putting measures in place to ensure the safe release of Islamic school children abducted by bandits in Tegina, Rafi Local Government, its deputy governor, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso has told journalistsin Monna, the state capital..
Speaking for his principal, Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello, who travelled abroad shortly before scores of students of a school in Tegina were abducted, Ketso said that though the number of the kidnapped school children is not fully ascertained, efforts were on by security agencies to secure their release.
He spoke as President Muhammadu Buhari charged the nation’s security and intelligence agencies to expedite efforts towards the recovery of the 200 children kidnapped from an Islamic school in Niger State.
The President, who received briefing on the latest incident of school kidnapping, condemned as unfortunate, the kidnapping of children from schools and urged all the agencies involved in the rescue operation to do their utmost in securing their immediate release.
He also directed that the concerned government agencies to extend possible support to the families of the kidnapped children.
The deputy governor said there are many government schools in Tegina but due the incessant attack on schools, government through proactive steps has temporarily changed them to day schools and made sure every primary and secondary school has a semblance of the security team that can respond immediately.
Describing the situation as unfortunate, the Deputy Governor disclosed that the islamiyya school has three components comprising of Nursery, primary and junior secondary school.
He assured that strategies are in place to secure the release of the abductees the same way those of Government Science College Kagara were released. He ruled out the payment of ransom.
“We don’t pay ransom to abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely”, he said.
He said that the government has made contact with some of the identified parents of the kidnapped children, assuring them of their safe return.
As Ketso spoke, reports emerged that 15 persons and at least one policeman, an Islamic cleric were gunned down by have bandits in Beri village of Mariga local government area.
Numerous bandits on motorcycles invaded the village in the early hours of the day for about fours before leaving at about 11.00 a.m.
Listed among the dead are Idris Ahmed Kwata, Hadiza Umaru Tunga, Momi Dalladi, Ibrahim Dalkadi, Yau Dalladi, Saadiya Garba, Garba Umar Tashanjirgi, Garba Umar Tjirgi, Hussaini Shuaib, Ayuba Garba, Abdullahi Jodi, Alhaji Isah Kasakohi; Fatima Nasiru Kwata among others.
The State Emergency Management Agency added that Unguwan Malam Bako was also attacked and many abducted in the Kotonkoro district.