* Calls for arrest of security personnel, traditional rulers in Kankara
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Director-General of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has described the current security situation in the country as a national embarrassment.
Lukman in a statement issued yesterday said the recent abduction of over 500 students of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) in Kankara, Katsina State, on December 11, 2020, was painful, shameful and embarrassing.
He noted that every day, Nigerians wake up with sad information about kidnappings, banditry, violent attacks and murders of innocent citizens by Boko Haram in the North-east and bandits in other parts of the country, saying this is “embarrassing and it means that nobody in Nigeria is safe.”
Lukman noted that Nigerians often get worrisome reports about how some security personnel and traditional rulers are colluding with criminals to successfully execute attacks on citizens, including kidnappings and other criminal activities, which he said have consumed the lives and property of innocent Nigerians.
The director-general of PGF stated that: “Certainly, without the collaboration of security personnel, traditional rulers, community leaders and some citizens, how can over 500 school children be taken away without clear information of their whereabouts for more than 72 hours?”
He pointed out that elementary knowledge of the area in question would convince any discerning mind that it was either the kidnap of GSSS Kankara students was done by combined operations of security personnel, traditional rulers or community leaders in the area or that the security personnel, traditional rulers and community leaders are collaborators in the exercise.
Lukman said given that those who carried out the kidnap would have passed through villages and communities to where they may be hiding them now, he wondered how much information have been volunteered by the adjourning security posts, traditional rulers, community leaders and the citizens in the villages and in the routes leading to the location where these school students are being held hostage?
The director-general wondered if it could have been possible that more than 500 people could sneak pass security post and villages without being seen by security operatives, traditional rulers, community leaders and citizens, adding that it was difficult to avoid the suspicion that a whole community or village may be playing host to these kidnapped children.
Lukman said: “Every policeman, other security personnel, traditional and community leaders within Kankara or on the routes where the GSSS Kankara school children would have been taken through should be arrested and tried.
“Similarly, everywhere such incidence takes place, the police, other security agencies, and traditional and community leaders should be the first-line suspects. They should be made to prove their innocence by producing the culprits, failing for which they should be convicted. Depending on the extent of the problem, there is no reason why corporal punishment covering life and death sentences should not be given.”
He said the country is dealing with a problem that is worse than armed robbery, and therefore, called on the state governors and legislators in state assemblies to act expeditiously on the matter.
Lukman noted further that: “Without any hesitation, anybody debating whether or not to have state police is simply part of the problem. As it is now, if we need to have private police in order to protect lives of Nigerians, nothing should stop us. In any event, what is left?”
He stated that today, it is Kankara students in Katsina State, which affected over 500 children initially, with more than 300 still missing; in February 2018, it was over 110 Dapchi students in Yobe State, and in April 2014, it was over 270 Chibok schoolgirls of Borno State, adding that Leah Sharibu and more than 80 schoolgirls are still being held more than six years after, while just about two weeks ago, more than 70 Zabarmari rice farmers were murdered.
Lukman stressed the need to challenge the security agencies to be accountable, saying every Nigerian is at risk.
According to him, “The hard truth is that the enemy is among us with, the highest possibility that a section of our security agencies may have joined or are collaborating with the enemy. The situation requires thorough introspection by not just our security agencies but also imposition of severe sanction against security personnel, traditional and community leaders where kidnappings, banditry and all other crimes consuming the lives of innocent Nigerians are taking place.”
The director-general of the PGF, however, called on the APC to take the recommendations contained in the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee on True Federalism very seriously.