Stop abductions, UNICEF tells FG, five Zamfara students freed – Punch Newspapers

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The United Nations Children’s Fund, on Thursday, condemned what it described as endless attacks on schools in Nigeria’s North-West and North-Central regions.

The UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, stated this in a statement in reaction to the abduction of 73 students and a teacher of the Government Day Secondary School, Kaya, in the Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Wednesday.

Hawkins said this as five of the abducted students regained their freedom on Thursday.

Hawkins said in the statement, “We strongly condemn this attack, which happened just a few days after the kidnapped students of a school in Niger State, North-Central Nigeria, were freed.

“We call on the authorities to take expedited action to rescue these students and reunite them with their families.

“We reiterate that attacks on schools and abduction of learners are a gross violation of children’s rights, and a horrific experience for children to go through – one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and overall well-being.”

“Schools must be safe; no child should experience any harm because they went to school, and no parent should come to grief for sending their children to learn.”

Meanwhile, five students of the Government Day Secondary School, Kaya, were freed on Thursday

Speaking to The PUNCH on the telephone, a former councillor in the Kaya ward, Yahaya Kaya, said his daughter, Amina, was among the students released by the abductors.

According to him, the five students were taken back to their hometown of Kaya around 1am.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the state police command claimed that the five students were rescued by its personnel.

The statement by the spokesman for the command, SP Mohammed Shehu, read in part, “The Zamfara State Police Command wishes to announce the unconditional and safe rescue of five out of the 73 abducted students of the Government Day Secondary School, Kaya, in the Maradun LGA.”

In a related development, the member representing the Kaura Namoda South Constituency in the state House of Assembly, Sarkin Fada, has faulted the security agents posted to the state for not responding to distress and emergency calls by the residents.

Fada, who spoke during a plenary session of the House on Thursday, said innocent people were being attacked without help from the security agents and described the situation as most unfortunate.

He said when bandits recently attacked the Kyambarawa community in his constituency, despite numerous calls put to security agents in the area, none of them went to the scene of the incident.

“No security officer responded to the innocent people until the bandits unleashed their terror, killing notable people and abducting so many in the village,” he stated.

The lawmaker blamed the security agencies in the state for not acting fast when they were called by the people of the community.

The House, therefore, passed a resolution calling on both the federal and state governments to put in more efforts to curtail the decade old security situation in the state.

The resolution of the House followed a motion raised by the House Leader, Faruk Dosara, under matters of urgent public importance.

Dosara is from the Maradun Local Government Area, where 76 students of the Government Day Secondary School, Kaya, were abducted last Wednesday.

Dosara, who commended the efforts of the state government in enforcing some emergency rules aimed at curtailing the excesses of bandits in the state, called on the people to show understanding and cooperate with the government and security agencies.

He said the punitive measures adopted by the government were only aimed at ending the security challenges bedevilling the state for over a decade.

Dosara wondered why some unreasonable people in the state were criticising the government for closing down all weekly markets in addition to the 6pm to 6am curfew in 13 local government areas of the state and the 8pm to 6am curfew in Gusau, the state capital.

He described the critics as unpatriotic, citing the coronavirus pandemic as a case in point where Hajj operations were suspended by the Saudi Arabian authorities for fear of infection, while the entire world was also put in total lockdown and no one said anything.

In his response, the presiding officer at the plenary and Deputy Speaker, Musa Yankuzo, commended his colleagues for their positive contributions to the matter and passed the resolution calling on both the state and federal governments to do all within their powers to end the protracted insecurity in the state.

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