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GOOD NEWS: Bandits Release Abducted Kagara Students To Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Gumi.
Abducted 27 schoolchildren of Government Science College, in Kagara, Niger State, have been released by their abductors to Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, alongside others.
According to reports, the secondary school students who had been held captive in the hideout of the bandits around Bangi forest in Mariga Local Government Area of the state for about 48 hours after their abduction from their dormitories within the school premises on the outskirts of Kagara township, headquarters of Rafi LGA, on Wednesday, were said to have been taken to some undisclosed public health facilities for medical checkup in Minna, the state capital in order to ascertain their health status and treatment shortly after they were set free.
It was further learned that the students gained their freedom after Sheikh Ahmad Gumi had met and dialogued with the leader of the bandits identified as Dogo Gide in conjunction with some of his members after what seems to be a long hours before the two parties could reach a truce.
It could however be recalled that the foremost Islamic scholar had visited the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello at the Government House in Minna, some few hours after the incident had occurred on Wednesday and held a closed-door meeting with the governor in his office, alongside members of his entourage.
Some close top government officials at the meeting informed Tribune reporter that the meeting was with the view to employing dialogue in resolving the ugly incident with the leaders of the dreaded bandits and the need for him( Sheikh Gumi) to reach out to the bandits on the need to release all the kidnapped students, their teachers and others from the school unhurt.
Further checks revealed that after the meeting with Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, the Islamic Scholar left the Government House with his entourage for the forest in Bangi, Mariga Local Government Area of the State and met with the leaders of the notorious kidnappers/ bandits, led by one Dogo Gide, where Sheikh Gumi urged them to live fruitful lifestyles.
Earlier we reported how Abubakar Bello, Governor of Niger, says bandits that abducted 41 people including 27 schoolchildren from Government Science College Kagara in Rafi area of the state, deserve to be taken care of, suggesting they resorted to kidnapping after being fed up with their economic condition.
In an interview reported by Channels TV, Bello said his government intends to absorb the bandits and empower them upon return of the abducted victims.
It was gathered that federal and Niger State governments are currently using a third party to reach out to the bandits.
The armed men raided the school in the early hours of Wednesday and left with some students, staff, and their families.
Governor Bello’s statement comes as prominent Nigerians including former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar have condemned rewarding bandits, stressing such only serves to embolden them to perpetrate more crimes.
In a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, Abubakar said, “Now is not the time for fingers to point in blame. Our nation needs solutions. And we have now seen that paying ransoms, and allowing criminals to profit from their criminality is not a solution.”
“When you reward crimes, the end result is more crime. The only long-term solution to the insecurity challenge Nigeria is facing is to end the reign of impunity.
“The Federal Government must enforce the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against abductions and kidnappings, by apprehending the criminals, trying them, and making an example of those convicted, to serve as a deterrent to others.”
He also called for the protection of schoolchildren in the affected states, asking the Nigerian government to deploy all-around security personnel.
The ex-vice president said if it is “not feasible to have armed military guards in all schools, then each state in the should as a matter of urgency replicate the Civilian Joint Task Force idea, that has worked so well in Borno and deploy them to each school, along with men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.”
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