By Martha Agas
The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has condemned the abduction of some students, staff and families of the Government Science School, Kagara in Niger by suspected bandits.
The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham on Wednesday in Jos, described the act as a heinous crime.
He said the incident was another calculated attempt to frustrate Niger and the northern region’s chances of overcoming illiteracy and poverty, which was endemic due to lack of education and other associated opportunities.
He said “We totally condemn the abduction of the school children who did nothing wrong than go to school to seek education.
“This is a sad and reprehensible act that must not be tolerated whatever the motive of the criminals.
“It is an act that further compounds the efforts to enroll more children into schools particularly in the Northern region where illiteracy is very high and enrolment is gradually appreciating after sustained efforts by Government and development partners.”
He commended the quick response by security agencies in ensuring the safe return of the abductees, saying it was reassuring while urging parents and families of the victims to remain hopeful.
He sympathised with the affected families and Niger governor, Abubakar Bello, while urging Nigerians to give the distraught families moral support.
The governor urged Nigerians to support the security forces with useful information which would ensure perpetrators of the act were apprehended and prosecuted.
He said the northern governors would work collectively with their colleague, Bello, to ensure that not only the current situation was resolved swiftly but ensure an end to the spate of banditry and destruction of lives and property affecting the state and other parts of the region.