Niger state government has ruled out paying ransom for 42 students and staff abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kagara.
It has also confirmed that a viral video of the abduction of the passengers of a Niger State Transport Authority bus on Sunday.
- ‘They invaded staff quarters before entering hostels’ – witness speaks on attack at Niger school
- How bandits are turning Kaduna communities to ghost towns
In the video, the gunmen were seen jubilating after the attack and demanding N500 million in ransom.
Governor Abubakar Bello confirmed 27 students, three staff and 12 of their relatives were abducted on Wednesday morning.
“It is not in our policy as a government to pay ransom to bandits because we have noticed that they use this sand money to buy arms and ammunition. However, the government will be ready to support and assist repentant bandits,” he said.
VIDEO: Gov Speaks on Abductions At Niger Secondary School pic.twitter.com/ABV5SUiuxi
— Daily Trust (@daily_trust) February 17, 2021
The identity of one student shot dead in the attack has been revealed as Benjamin Doma.
He was killed while trying to escape in the presence of other students at the school.
In the aftermath of the attack, Niger state government shut down schools in four local government areas indefinitely.
The local governments affected are Rafi, Mariga, Munya and Shiroro.
“We are deeply concerned at this recent sad events and are asking the federal government to deploy every necessary resources while we will look at all options, both kinetic and non kinetic to ensure the safe return of the victims of both incidences. We will not rest or sleep until we bring them back to their families.” he said.
“Tension is high and the situation is very serious. We are saddened by all these development. We have been having attacks before and we have been working to settle it but in these past few days, the attacks have been so daring that it caught our attention. We pray that God will show us the way of getting them back safely.”
Hours after the kidnap, President Muhammadu Buhari dispatched military and police chiefs to coordinate the rescue of the victims.
A senator from Niger, Muhammed Musa (APC, Niger) moved a motion in Senate on Wednesday to call on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency.
In his lead debate, Senator Musa said though security agents have launched rescue effort to secure the release of the victims, their whereabouts were still unknown.
Senator Muhammad Bima Enagi (Niger South) said the high rate of killings and kidnappings in the country showed that the government at the centre seemed to be incompetent in addressing insecurity.
“Do we need to amend the constitution to allow the citizens carry arms to protect themselves?” he queried.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the recurring incidents of kidnapping of school children at the school premises would have a negative effect on the willingness of parents to send their children to school.