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Niger Gov. accuses FG of abandoning Kagara abducted students, teachers rescue

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Barely a week after 41 persons were abducted by bandits from Government Science Secondary School Kagara in Rafi Local Government, the Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, has accused the Federal Government of abandoning the rescue operation, leaving the state with sole responsibility of securing release of the abductees.

Bello added that the apex government did not provide funds for the military personnel deploy to stem tide of banditry, kidnapping and other criminalities that had enveloped Niger recently, forcing the state to provide funding for the personnel operations.

The governor lamented that, at the moment, he has little or no support from the government at the centre, but re-iterated the state government’s commitments to secure release of the students and their teachers.

“At the moment we did not feel any Federal presence here. Yes, agreed the Inspector General of Police sent us four Mobile units but we have to shoulder all the financial responsibilities.

“So, where is the support?, there is no support from anyone. Yes, we had a delegation that came to commiserate with us, finished. We are left to ourselves.

“Be that as it may, we have already made a commitment to Nigerlites that we will bring the children back home safely with or without anyone’s support and that is exactly what we are going to do to ensure the safe return of these kids soon, using resources within our means”, Bello added.

The governor raised the concerns on Thursday during a courtesy visit by Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, who is also the former Governor of Abia State, at the State House in Minna.

He corroborated the call by Kalu on security across the country, pointing out that command centres should be stationed in every state and should work with local authorities.

“The command centre will work with local authorities combined with the federal troops that will come for the operations and, most importantly, the representatives of the services at the command centres should be able to report to their bosses and give update on situations”, the governor added.

Earlier, Kalu urged the Federal Government to set up a joint Security Committee in Minna, to fastrack release of students, staff members and relatives abducted by bandits.

The Chief Whip, who said security issue has become a big challenge in the country and particularly in Niger State considering it large landmarks, suggested that the joint security committee should comprise representatives of all the security outfits in the country, as it will help the existing commands in the State.

“I call on the Federal Government to set up a joint security committee in your state to be able to have a representative of all the forces like the National Security Adviser, the Army. They should be able to help the existing commands that are here to facilitate in getting back these innocent young boys and women that are kidnapped”, he added.

The Senate Chief Whip, who encouraged Governor Sani Bello to continue with every effort geared towards securing the freedom of the abductees, also opined that the State and Federal Government should partner to tighten up security in the State.

“We encourage you to continue doing what you are doing to see how these kids will all be released. We believe that you should do more to partner with the Federal Government to become two working tools that will make security tight in Niger State”, he stated.

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