President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reinforcement of security in schools across the country to prevent future kidnapping within academic environment after bandits abducted students from a boarding school in Katsina State.
Buhari added that the reinforcement of security in schools was in line with the safe schools policy adopted by the administration since 2015.
He, meanwhile, disclosed that the Nigerian Military has located the hideout of the bandits that abducted students from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Kankara Local Government and that they have begun to engage them.
The President, who disclosed these on Saturday while reacting over attack on the school, charged the army and the police to go after the attackers and ensure that none of the student is left with the abductors or injured.
Through a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari, while condeming the attack, urged the school authorities to carry out an audit of the population of the students following shootings in and around the school that sent hundreds of them fleeing and scrambling over perimeter walls.
He said: “Parents who rushed to the school and removed their children and wards were also required to notify the school and police authorities in order to have a full account of the school population.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara. Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured,” said President Buhari while pledging to continue to support the police and military struggle against terrorists and bandits.
“In the latest briefing received by the President from Governor Aminu Bello Masari, with whom he has been in touch, and the Army Chief of Staff, General Tukur Buratai, the military, supported by air power has located the bandits’ enclave at Zango/Paula forest in Kankara and there have been exchange of fire in an ongoing operation. Police said so far, there has not been reported any student casualty”.
Also, the Katsina State’s Commissioner for Education, Badamasi Charanchi, disclosed that a total of about 406 students were found after the gunmen attack on the school.
Charanchi stated this while addressing residents, parents and guardians in the school premises in a short video going viral on social media.
The Commissioner upon interaction with some of the students who found their way back, they said they passed the night inside the bush walking all through.
“The children have continued to return and according to report available, the number of the missing children who have returned are now 406 including the earlier ones found. We have interacted with many of the children who said some passed the night in the bush walking all through.
“Parents who come and upon identification of their children, we will hand over their children to them to return back home,” the Commissioner, Charanchi added.
However, an international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Amnesty International (AI), has condemned the attack on the Katsina school and appealed for adequate protection of students.
The organisation in a statement posted on its official social media handle said: “Amnesty International strongly condemns the abduction of many students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara in Katsina state by armed bandits who attacked the school last night.
“We are calling on the Nigerian authorities to safely and immediately rescue the students, while putting in place measures to ensure that the right to education is fully protected, even in rural areas, which are prone to banditry attacks”.