The Niger State Government has confirmed the number of students abducted by bandits at an Islamic school to be 136.
The state deputy governor, Ahmed Ketso, confirmed the number Wednesday while giving an update on the situation at the Government House, Minna.
He assured the parents of the abducted children that the government was doing its best for the safe return of the students and reiterated the readiness of the government to give continued support to the security agencies.
Mr Ketso also disclosed that the state government has so far provided support to the security agencies including distribution of various operational vehicles.
“We have so far given 89 operational vehicles, 283 operational motorcycles, 30 bicycles, 4 Tri-cycles in addition to funding the various security operations in the state that include: Karamin Goro, Sharan Daji, Girgizan Daji, Gama Aiki, Ayem Akpatuma I & II, Puff Adder I & II,” he said.
He added that 70 Nissan vehicles and 2,300 motorcycles as mobility support have been provided to the vigilante corps in the state.
He said that the security agencies were doing their best but do not have enough logistics, saying intervention from the federal government was needed to equip them so that they confront the bandits.
Ban on commercial motorcycles
The state government has also announced the total ban of commercial motorcycles popularly known as okada in Minna, the state capital.
Mr Ketso said the ban which will take effect from June 3 was to ensure that the state capital is safe. He, however, said that private motorcycles are allowed to operate but with restriction from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
According to him, the okada riders association has been informed and the ban will be implemented to the latter.
The deputy governor also directed all the emirs, district heads and village heads to liaise with local government chairpersons so as to profile all new residents in their domains and to be security sensitive.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how armed bandits on Sunday abducted many pupils of the Islamic school in Tegina, a densely populated town in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
The bandits reportedly attacked the police station in the town and went round the town shooting sporadically into the air to scare residents before breaking into a private school where they abducted children attending Islamic lectures.
The school, which consists of nursery and primary schools, also hosts Islamiyya students in the evening and at weekends.
The mass abduction of the Islamic school students was the second to be perpetrated in Rafi local government in six months.
Dozens of students were kidnapped at Government Science College (GSC) Kagara but were later released after negotiation with the state government.
Asides the attack on schools, thousands of residents across different local government areas of the state have been displaced after the invasion of bandits.
Niger is one of the Northern states in Nigeria most affected by bandits attacks. Other states include Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina.
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