(Above: Niger Governor, Sani Bello, briefing combined security forces; below: a cross section of the team)
Following a breakdown of negotiations to free abducted students of a school in Tegina, Niger State, the government is going for broke.
It has massed a combined team of security agents to storm the bushes in Niger State and environs to bring back the children.
The combined security forces, comprising the military, police, civil defense corps members, and Vigilante Corps members are primed to begin the assault after a meeting with state chief executive, Abubakar Sani Bello.
It is now three weeks since the poor students were abducted though reports said about 15 escaped between Saturday and Sunday.
Governor Sani Bello revealed the planned onslaught when he visited the security forces to boost their morale in Kagara the headquarters of Rafi local government area.
Governor Sani Bello said that it was time for government to take decisive action towards ending the bandits activities that is changing the lives of the people especially in the rural areas.
“We have to try our possible best not to make them succeed in forcing us to change our normal lives, they started by displacing farmers from their farmlands, next moved to burning farms, then moved to kidnappings and forcing us to close our schools, now they have started attacking Islamic schools, only God knows what is next”, he said.
He told the special squad that logistics have been provided for them, promising that their allowances and other financial benefits will always be provided when due.
The Governor, who commended the security personnel for their efforts in fighting the bandits in the last few weeks, however, mourned the killing of 20 Vigilante Corps Members by the bandits in Magama Local Government.
He enjoined the Federal government to intensify efforts at ensuring that adequate measures are evolved in collaborating with her neigbouring countries, noting that from all indications, the bandits are foreigners.
Earlier, the Governor had met with parents of the abducted school children at the palace of the Emir of kagara, Alh Ahmed Gunna. He urged them to exercise patience as government is exploring all avenues to see to the safe return of their children.
The Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Ahmad Garba, Attahiru II thanked the Governor for all the support, especially in the area of security to the emirate and the support given to the family of the kidnapped schoolchildren.
On his own part, the Headmaster of Salihu Tanko Islamiyyah School Tegina, Mallam Abubakar Alhassan said the action of the government to go into full combat is a welcome development providing that the school children will be brought back safely.
Alh. Alhassan disclosed that 15 of the school’s teachers have escaped from the hands of their abductors in Zamfara state and are in a military facility in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State.
They will be handed over to the Niger State Government soon, he added.