As uncertainty still surrounds the fate of the over 300 abducted students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State on Friday, Nigerians have heaved a sigh of relief over the release of the 42 Kagara, Niger State abductees which included 27 teenage male students, three staff, and 12 of their family members. They were abducted by gun men February 17, 2021in a midnight attack on the Government Science Secondary School, Kagara. One of the boys, identified as Benjamin Doma, was killed during the attack.
TELL however gathered that anxious parents of the school boys are still waiting to embrace their children whom they have missed for about two weeks as they were said to be going through medical care and being freshened up before being presented to the governor, Abubakar Sani Bello.
The released students and others were first received at the Niger State government house by the chief of staff to the governor, Ibrahim Balarabe. An excited Governor Bello had announced the release of the hostages in a tweet. He wrote: “The Abducted Students, Staff and Relatives of Government Science College, Kagara have regained their freedom and have been received by the Niger State Government”.
Meanwhile, some reactions have trailed the release of the kidnap victims with President Muhammadu Buhari saying in a statement on Saturday, signed by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu that “We are happy they have been released”. Welcoming the release of the boys and others, Shehu’s statement read: “President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday welcomed the release of the abducted students of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State. The President commended the nation’s security and intelligence agencies and the government of Niger State for their responses in securing the release. We are happy they have been released”
President Buhari, who also greatly sympathized with the staff and the students, their parents and friends “on this ordeal”, however, warned that the country would not continue to suffer these attacks that threaten the growth of education, security and the life of the future leaders at the same time putting the nation in a negative light.
According to Shehu, the President reiterated his earlier advice to school owners, particularly the state and local governments, as well as religious organizations, to scale up security around their schools in line with the standards laid down by the United Nations-backed Safe School Programme of the administration.
“President Buhari once again condemned the school abductions, with latest one at the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State, and directed all security and intelligence agencies in the country to hunt down the culprits and bring them to justice,” the statement said.
In his reaction, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s Nigeria representative, said “As we welcome the news of the release of the abducted Kagara students, I urge government to expedite action on the release and safe return of the kidnapped students of Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe”.
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