Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello on Friday gave Nigerians an update on what is being done by his administration and the federal government to ensure the return of students, staff and others who were recently kidnapped in the state.
He said the state government is doing everything possible to safely bring back the victims who were taken away from Government Science College, Kagara in Tafi Local Government Area of the state.
The governor gave the update on Friday at a press briefing streamed live on Twitter, revealing that the government is working with the federal and local governments as well local community leaders to ensure that the kidnapped victims are returned safely.
The governor however said that the government does not have much information yet and whenever there is, it would be made known.
It would be recalled that gunmen, suspected to be bandits had attacked the school in the early hours of Wednesday, after overpowering security guards and taking away 27 students and about 15 workers of the school.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that popular Kaduna based Islamic scholar, Ahmad Gumi reportedly visited the bandits in their hideout in the forest between Tegina in Niger State and Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State to negotiate for the release of the victims.
According to the reports, Gumi said they would soon be released.
Governor Bello who also described as mere rumour, the purported release of the abductees, further said: “Regarding the event of the past few days where we have two serious cases of kidnappings –the NTSA (Niger State Transport Authority) bus that was kidnapped (with passengers). And the second event took place at the Secondary School in Kagara.
“As at this moment, we do not have any additional information to give apart from the one given earlier on, yesterday. But I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can, we are interfacing with the local communities, with federal authorities and our own state authorities to ensure that we recover the victims safely.
“Our utmost priority right now is to make sure we bring them back home safe and that is exactly what we are going to do. So, there hasn’t been any information I can give you at this moment but once we have anything for you, we will let you know.”
On the purported release of the victims, Governor Bello ssid: “Everything that is being said out there is rumour and in situations like this, we cannot work with rumour, it has to be confirmed. Yes, we’ve been receiving different rumours from different people within villages but we are still treating those as rumour until processed and confirmed.”
On his meeting with popular Kaduna based Islamic scholar, Ahmad Gumi shortly before the press briefing, Bello said the state was ready to engage any actor who was willing to assist with the rescue of the abducted persons.
According to him, the state government was exploring kinetic and non-kinetic means to secure the release of the abductees, adding that he was waiting to receive a “comprehensive” report of the “findings” of Gumi.
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