…Tinubu calls for stricter security measures to safeguard schools

…Overhaul security architecture, end insecurity -Atiku, Obi

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Sunday commended the National Security Adviser, the security agencies, and the Kaduna State Government for the dispatch and diligence with which they handled the release of the Kuriga schoolchildren in Kaduna State, noting that incipient urgency, meticulous attention, and tireless dedication were critical to optimal outcomes in cases of mass abductions.

The President also stressed the significance of collaboration between the Federal Government and states for expected outcomes, especially on matters of security.

He therefore called for stricter security measures to make schools “safe sanctuaries of learning” following the rescue of 137 abductees.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, President Tinubu, who also welcomed the release of pupils of a Tsangaya School in Sokoto State, assured Nigerians that his administration was deploying detailed strategies to ensure that schools remain “safe sanctuaries of learning, not lairs for wanton abductions”.

This came as the Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) disclosed that the 137 schoolchildren who were kidnapped from LEA School Kuriga in Chikun Local Government of Kaduna State have been rescued from their abductors.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, also praised the military for the release of the schoolchildren.

Obi said the news of the children’s release was comforting, even as he asked the Federal Government to ensure that every Nigerian still held by kidnappers is also released.

“It is comforting to hear that 287 school children abducted in Kaduna have been released. It is hard to imagine the mental pain and trauma the children must have gone through in the hands of their abductors,” Obi said.

“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.

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“I encourage every Nigerian, in the midst of these dark and fearful nights in our nation where danger seems to be lurking on every corner, to remain hopeful for the new dawn of a secure and safe nation – the New Nigeria which is possible,” he said.

Atiku, on his part, called for the overhaul of the nation’s security architecture amid the several security threats confronting the nation.

He also called for 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”.

“But above all, there should be an overhaul of the security architecture to meet the demands of the threats facing us,” Atiku said.

In a statement released on Sunday by the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, the military said it would continue to make efforts until hostages from other abduction attacks have been secured and the perpetrators of terrorism arrested.

Giving details of the rescue operation, the military said, “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 2024, 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.”

Terrorists had on March 7 stormed LEA Primary School, Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, and kidnapped scores of pupils and teachers at about 8:20am immediately after the morning assembly.