The Senate on Wednesday condemned in “strong terms” the kidnap of students and teachers of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger State, by unidentified gunmen.
The upper chamber also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a “state of emergency on insecurity” in the country.
The lawmakers further called on the President Buhari to “consider and implement the recommendations of the Senate ad-Hoc Committee on Nigeria’s Security Challenges dated March, 17, 2020 and Senate Resolutions therefrom, as a holistic response to the mounting security challenges across the country.
“And order for a massive and combined operation to identify and destroy the camps and hideouts of these criminals wherever they may be situated.”
These resolutions of the Senate followed a motion on a matter of urgent public importance on the incident by Senator representing Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said that the frequent incidents of kidnapping of students would reverse the gains made in school enrollment over the years in the North.
He said parents would no longer yield to persuasion to enroll their wards in schools with the level of insecurity plaguing the area especially the kidnap of school children.
Lawan said: “Let me be a little bit clear about the incidents of abducting students from schools.
“Almost all the incidents of abducting students from schools happened in Northern Nigerian and we all know our leaders of yesterday, probably right from independence, have worked so hard to ensure that children go to school in Northern part of Nigeria.
“With incidents like these we will be reversing all the gains that were made in convincing parents to take their children to school.
“So there is need for our security agencies and government to ensure that we come up with strategies of ensuring security in schools.
“Because with theses spate of kidnappings and abductions, definitely there will be that negative adverse effect on the desire and willingness of parents to allow their children to go to school.
“And the consequences of not going to school are better imagined in 21st Century Nigeria.
“Let me say the Service Chiefs-designate have their work and their tasks clearly cut out for them. Part of what they are supposed to carry on board is how to secure our schools in addition to so many other challenges that they have to deal with.
“I believe that the states need to be carried along because the schools belong to the states.
“So that partnership and cooperation between the Security agencies and the states must be adhered to so that states cooperate fully with the security agencies of government.
“With that let me pray that the whole country will be praying and will be waiting for our abducted children to be returned back to their parents secured and well.”
In his contribution, Senator Mohammed Birma Enagi (Niger South), described the Federal Government as “incompetent” in dealing with the rising insecurity in the country.
Enagi said: “The enemies of God, bandits, terrorists, kidnappers are everywhere. Where are we heading to in this country? What else do we need as lawmakers that we are not doing?
“Can we rightly say that the government is incompetent? Because this issue has been discussed here over and over and there is no improvement. It is getting worse.
“I’m sure everybody here have stories to tell about the security challenges. What else are we supposed to do that we are not doing?
“Are we supposed to amend the laws in this country to give every citizen freedom to carry arms?
“Are we going to amend the Constitution to give more powers to the governors who are the security heads in their various states because our government at the centre is showing incompetence in handling insecurity – because it is not his son or his daughter that has been kidnaped. I expect everybody in government to think like that.
“Instead of creating economic opportunities that will engage the unemployed and generate employment, the government is giving palliatives.”
Senator Musa’s motion was titled: “Abduction of Students and Teachers of Government Science School, Kagara: Need for urgent action.”
In his lead debate, Musa urged the Senate to note “with sadness, and great concern, the recent terrorist attack and abduction of students at Government Science School, Kagara, Niger State, by gunmen in the early hour of today (Wednesday).
“Further notes that the bandits were dressed in military uniforms when they attacked the boarding school, overpowered the security guards before whisking away the students, and killing some which numbers are yet to be confirmed.
“Aware that the exact numbers of students kidnapped are not yet known as headcount was being conducted in the school as we speak to ascertain the actual number of missing students; but the school has a population of over 1000 students.
“Further aware that the security agencies were able to detect the coordinates of the area the students were taken to, and have started tracing the bandits’ movement while security aircraft have been seen hovering in the air to track the location of the students.
“Aware that section 14 (2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended stipulates that the welfare and security of citizens shall be the primary responsibility of government; thus government at all levels owe the people the duty to provide adequate security.
“Aware that the recent attack and abduction of school children at Government Science School, Kagara, Niger State is coming on the heels of yet to be resolved Kankara abduction of 300 student which took place at Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State, Chibok Girls in 2014, and abduction of about 100 school girls at Government Girls Science and Technical School, Dapchi, Yobe State in 2018.
“Concerned that like the other incidents of school children abduction that took place in Chibok and Dapchi, several years back, if no immediate action is taken to rescue Kagara School students, their fate may be sealed in the hands of terrorists.
“Further worried that Niger, Katsina and many other states in North-west and North-central Nigeria are now bedeviled by bandits’ attacks.
“The bandits kill and kidnap at will despite the large deployment of police officers and soldiers to the affected States.
“Note also that on Sunday the 14th of February, 2021, many commuters were abducted in Kwandu, all within the same area and are yet to be released.”