Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Government yesterday accused the federal government of not doing enough to assist the state in rescuing the 27 pupils of Government Science College, Kagara and 15 others, bandits kidnapped from the school last Wednesday.
Governor Sani Bello, while playing host to Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, who paid him a sympathy visit in Minna, said the federal government has left the state to shoulder all the financial responsibilities of the insecurity in the state.
He said although the federal government sent a delegation and deployed 300 riot policemen in the state to assist with the rescue operations, there was no financial support from the federal government.
According to him, the federal government has done nothing to help in securing the release of the victims.
He said: “So, 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 commiserate with us, but we are left to ourselves.
“With or without any support, the state government has already made a commitment to the people of the state to rescue the abducted schoolchildren and, therefore, we 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.
“We don’t have an exact day and when these children will be released, but I am very sure very soon.”
Earlier, Kalu had asked the federal government to set up a special security committee made up of all the forces to assist Niger State in searching for the victims, saying that the special security committee will fast-track their rescue.
Kalu later told journalists after the visit that if he becomes president: “I will smoke out all the bandits from their hiding places.”
He said he did not believe in giving amnesty to bandits. “If I am in charge, I will not negotiate with bandits,” the Senate chief whip said.
He stated that the federal government is mapping out plans to wipe out banditry in the next three months.
“The governments are planning very well; they are strategising; they are building up momentum; they are building up the force to save the Nigerian people,” he said.
Kalu also expressed support for the clamour for rotational presidency, saying it will bring peace. “It is good for capacity building, rotating the presidency will help the country,” he said.
He, however, urged Nigerians to stop discussing the 2023 presidency because it will distract President Muhammadu Buhari’s attention.
Kalu also visited two former Heads of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), as well as the Emir of Minna, Dr. Umar Bahago.
Addressing journalists earlier yesterday, the Niger State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, said the state government was not foot-dragging in securing the release of the victims.
Idris told reporters after the State Executive Council meeting that the state government is making efforts to secure the release of all the victims.
“Governor Bello is bent on the release of all those abducted, we are not foot-dragging on this.
“We will employ a lot of strategies, the state is open to negotiation, we will use multiple strategies to get them out,” Idris said.
He, however, reiterated the government’s decision that the state will not pay ransom for the release of the abducted.