Bello: We’ve been left to fate on abducted students
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of necessity, establish a joint security committee in Niger State and other troubled parts of the country. The former Governor of Abia State made the call yesterday when he paid a visit to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger at the Government House, Minna. Kalu commiserated with the government and people of Niger State over the recent security challenges in the state, especially the abduction of schoolboys and passengers by bandits. “We sympathize with you and we share in your grief at the moment.
We know what you are going through. Security has been challenging not in Niger alone, but the entire country. “I want to call on the federal body to set up a joint committee to have representatives of all forces to help existing commands to fast-track the return of the students,” he said.
Bello commended Kalu for the visit and described him as “as a friend to the state”. He said that the last 10 days had been challenging to the government and people of the state, adding that the state had witnessed a new dimension of security challenges through the abduction of school students.
Bello said the students had been in the hands of the captors for eight days, adding that necessary contacts and dialogue were being made for their release. “For now, there’s no clear indication of when the students will be released, but we are making efforts to see that they are released as we are using whatever means available,” he said. The governor expressed concerns that the Federal Government has neglected its plans to rescue abductees, adding that “we have been left to our fate”. He, however, said he is not deterred from intensifying efforts towards the rescue of the abducted 27 students and 15 others from the Government Science College, Kagara.
He also acknowledged that the Federal Government had sent a delegation to the state and has deplored additional 300 mobile policemen to the state, but that the state government has been left to shoulder all the financial responsibility. His words: “Where is the support? At the moment, we have not seen any federal support here since this incident occurred.
Yes, we had a delegation that came to commensurate with, but we are left to ourselves. “With or without any support, the state government had already made a commitment to the people of the state to rescue the abducted school children and, therefore, will do everything possible to ensure their release unhurt.
“We will use whatever means and resources available to make sure the children return home safely.” Meanwhile, Kalu has kicked against negotiation with bandits terrorising some parts of the country. He spoke shortly after a closed door meeting with former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida at his Up Hill residence in Minna yesterday. Kalu later met with the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. Speaking on the calls for the government to negotiate with bandits, Kalu said: “If I am the President of Nigeria, I will never negotiate with bandits, but rather smoke them out. “I cannot and I will never negotiate with killer herdsmen; they are terrorists.
I will smoke them out.” He also charged former Gen. Abubakar and other former leaders in the country to offer their wealth of experience to help address the present criminal activities across the country. His words: “We need the experiences of our former leaders because the security challenges are getting serious; something needs to be done and very quickly.
“Nowhere is safe in the country; it is not a question of North or South, all Nigerians are concerned, we need to nip it in the bud or else our country will become a place where hoodlums will take over everywhere.” When asked on the way out of the current security challenges bedevilling the nation, the Senate Chief Whip said: “Government is planning and strategizing very well and it is building momentum, building the force to intervene and save the Nigerian people.” On his visit, he said: “Niger State is like home to us. My two Ogas (Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar) are here. It’s enough for me to come.
We heard what happened and we came to tell them, we are praying along with them for peace to return to the state.” Kalu was also at the palace of the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago, where he urged the traditional institutions in the country to join hands in supporting the government towards tackling the security challenges in the country by identifying bad eggs in their domains. He pointed out the traditional rulers have a great role to play in the current security challenges in the country because they are the closest to the people in the rural areas where the security challenges are high.