A coalition of northern groups on Thursday staged a protest demanding the unconditional release of the more than 300 students abducted at Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State.
However, the protest commenced and ended in a hotel premises, where the conveners conceded to the government demands to cancel the protest as progress was being made to secure the release of the missing children.
One of the conveners, Nastura Ashir, told reporters inside the hotel premises that the protest was earlier designed as a street walk from Katsina to Daura to meet President Muhammadu Buhari and demand for the immediate release of the missing children.
Mr Ashir said the group spoke with the police and state government on Wednesday, with the police saying they cannot provide security for the protesters from Katsina to Daura.
On their part, the government urged the group to halt the planned protest because efforts are in top gear to release the abducted schoolboys and any protest can destabilise such progress, Mr Ashir said.
“Another demand from the government is that we have to document all our demands to the president through the Katsina State government while promising to take all the necessary actions.
“We are convinced that the protest can hamper the rescue process and our concern is for the government to rescue and reunite the schoolboys with their parents, which is the reason why we halted the protest,” Mr Ashir said.
He added that the children are in a difficult situation, especially now in the cold harmattan weather.
Mr Ashir also said “we will wait for some days and be watchful of the rescue process and anything short of that, we will commence the protest in other northern states in solidarity to the Katsina schoolboys.”
Earlier in a press statement, the group lamented that Northern Nigeria is at the mercy of vicious insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists, and an assortment of hardened criminals who roam about and operate with ease.
“Sensing a huge vacuum in the political will and capacity of government to challenge them, these criminal gangs have spread their activities and made life miserable for millions of people across states like Borno, Yobe, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Adamawa, Benue, and literally prohibited the use of major highways in northern Nigeria
“The insecurity along the northern highways is so high that people are afraid of travelling 75 kilometres from Funtua to Zaria, or the 80 kilometres from Zaria to Kaduna, not to talk of from Sokoto to Abuja or Kano.
“This frightening state of insecurity had in the last couple of weeks, escalated with the massacre of 43 rice farmers and disappearance of 80 others at the hands of insurgents in Zabarmari in Borno State.
“The situation deteriorated to the current unacceptable level with the abduction of hundreds of students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State by armed gangs that rode in and out freely without any security presence,” the group wrote.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...