Legal Nigeria

Tinubu pledges safer schools after rescue of Kaduna pupils

Asafer school environment will be provided to prevent kidnapping of pupils and abduction of teachers, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu promised yesterday.

The President, who expressed delight at the release of kidnapped 17 pupils of Tsangaya Islamic School in Sokoto and 137 pupils and teachers of Kuriga School in Kaduna State, saluted the National Security Adviser (NSA) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the Armed Forces and the state governments for the successful rescue operations.

According to the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), the Kaduna school children would be handed over to their parents today, 17 days after they were kidnapped and taken to an unknown location in Zamfara State.

Hailing the safe return of the pupils, House of Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi commended the military and Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani who announced the children’s release.

President Tinubu said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, that a conscious effort would be made to prevent a repeat of the sad scenario.

He assured Nigerians that his administration would deploy detailed strategies to keep institutions of learning safe across the country.

The President said federal and state governments should work together to ensure security.

The statement reads: “President Bola Tinubu welcomes the news of the release of the Kuriga school children in Kaduna State and emphasizes the importance of collaboration between the Federal Government and states for expected outcomes, especially on matters of security.

“The President commends the National Security Adviser, the security agencies, and the Kaduna State Government for the dispatch and diligence with which they handled this situation, noting that incipient urgency, meticulous attention, and tireless dedication are critical to optimal outcomes in cases of mass abductions.

“President Tinubu also welcomes the release of pupils of a Tsangaya school in Sokoto State, commending all the parties to the feat for their valiant effort.


“The President assures Nigerians that his administration is deploying detailed strategies to ensure that our schools remain safe sanctuaries of learning, not lairs for wanton abductions.”

Bandits had on March 7 stormed the LEA Primary School, Kuriga, a facility which is also temporarily accommodating GSS Kuriga and whisked away hundreds of schoolchildren and their teachers.

One of the secondary school teachers, Sani Abdullahi, who briefed Governor Sani at Kuriga, said 287 were marched into the bush by the armed attackers.

There was no independent confirmation of the number of pupils.

Neither the police nor the Kaduna State government gave a figure of those kidnapped.

The bandits, a week after the abduction, reached out to the community, demanding N1 billion ransom as they handed down a 20-day ultimatum for the ransom payment.

However, 17 days after the abduction, the Defence Headquarters issued a statement, saying that troops rescued 137 pupils.

DHQ, in a statement by its Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, confirmed the release of the Kaduna school children, comprising 76 females and 61 males.

He said the students, who were rescued in Zamfara, would be handed over to the Kaduna government for further action.

Gen. Buba said: “The hostages are the same persons that were abducted from the school at Kuriga in Chikun LGA of Kaduna State.

“The military, in collaboration with local authorities and government agencies nationwide, conducted a coordinated search and rescue operation to secure the hostages.”

Gen. Buba added: “On 7 March 2024, troops received information that terrorists had invaded LEA School Kuriga in Chikun LG of Kaduna State. During the incident, an unconfirmed number of pupils were abducted.

“Following the incident, the military committed to leaving no stone unturned until all the hostages were rescued.

“Accordingly, in the early hours of 24 March 2024, the military, working with local authorities and government agencies across the country, in a coordinated search and rescue operation rescued the hostages.

The hostages are the same persons that were abducted from the school at Kuriga in Chikun LGA of Kaduna State.

“The rescued hostages totalling 137 comprise 76 females and 61 males. They were rescued in Zamfara State and would be conveyed and handed over to the Kaduna State Government for further action.

“Relatedly, it would be recalled that on 21 March 24, troops equally rescued 16 pupils (Almajiris) with a woman taken hostage in Gada LGA of Sokoto State. These hostages were handed over to the Sokoto State Government.

“These efforts demonstrate the armed forces’ resolve to find other innocent hostages and track down the terrorists that perpetrated these crimes.

“These efforts would continue until other hostages are found and the terrorists arrested, tried, and brought to justice by Nigerian law.

“Troops are employing similar efforts to track down the culprits responsible for the killings of 18 soldiers in Okuama Community in Delta State. Justice awaits the culprits, as they can not go unpunished.”

Speaker Abbas lauded Tinubu’s efforts in securing the release of the children, saying that he is living up to the task of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.

The Speaker also lauded the Kaduna governor for his relentless efforts, adding that he has demonstrated good leadership.

Abbas also hailed Ribadu and security agencies for their determination and commitment.

He, however, urged the Armed Forces to be more steadfast and determined in their operations and ensure the rescue of other Nigerians captured by criminal groups in different parts of the country.

Abbas also called for preventive measures against mass abductions.

The President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, hailed the government for the rescue operation.

He lamented that the children were subjected to a traumatic experience.

Shettima said in a statement that the abduction of school children is a serious threat to education in the North.

He commended the collaborative efforts of the government, security agencies, and local communities that led to a successful rescue.

Shettima reiterated the need for government and security agencies to redouble their efforts towards flushing out the criminals once and for all.

Atiku, Obi: no Nigeria should be captive

Atiku, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last year’s election, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart Peter Obi hailed the release of the pupils in separate statements.

They said Nigerians should not be captives in their country.

Noting that the news of the children’s release is comforting, Obi urged the Federal Government to ensure the release of every Nigerian still being held by kidnappers.

He said: “It is comforting to hear that school children abducted in Kaduna have been released. It is hard to imagine the mental pain and trauma the children must have gone through at the hands of their abductors.

“Efforts should also be made, not just to release many of our people in the different kidnappers dens across the country, but to end the scourge of insecurity completely.”

Atiku called for the overhauling of the nation’s security architecture and the “strengthening of the Safe School Initiative that prioritises the protection of schools, especially in the areas that are most vulnerable to mass kidnap of school children.”

Source:The nation