From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The federal government on Monday assured that all necessary measures are in place to ensure the security of all Nigerians, especially school children, reiterating that there would no longer be instances of abduction of school children.
Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika made this known while speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He noted, however, that the government is not unaware of possible plans by the insurgents to sabotage with intent to embarrass the government.
Sirika had over the weekend, while in Zamfara, relayed President Buhari’s assurance that the abduction of more than 300 girls from Government Girls’ Science Secondary School (GGSSS) in Jangebe would be the last of such incidents in the country.
The Aviation minister had led a high-powered federal government delegation to the state to assess the development and sympathise with the government and people of the state.
But Sirika, while responding to a question on if government had taken the likely reaction by elements opposed to the success of the administration into consideration, he said President Buhari had been putting plans in place to ensure that his assurance of security and safe schooling does not fail.
‘To answer your question that those who do not mean well for the country, they can try to do it to embarrass government, by government saying it will be the last, by the grace of God. It’s a possibility, but Mr President and his government have done everything possible to ensure safe schools.
‘It has recently rejigged the national security architecture and it’s an ongoing exercise and everything that is possible to stop this government is putting it in place, and by special grace of God, it should be the last this country will see.
‘Yes, there may be a possibility that some people will try to do it to embarrass government, but government has the resources to continue to give the best in terms of security in this country. We think, and we hope, but especially by the grace of God, that this will be the last that we’ll see in this country.’
On what the security arrangements are to make schools safe and banish incidences of students abduction, Sirika remarked: ‘Like I said, the government has put things in place to ensure safe schools in partnership with the sub-nationals, in partnership with the people that are localised in those environments, including intelligence gathering, information gathering, you know, and then supply of equipment and weapons and so on, so forth, training and retraining of security personnel.
‘Everything that is humanly possible by any government to put in place, to ensure security of lives and property, is being put together to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Like I said, it’s an ongoing thing and government is committed to it and will continue to do so.’
Asked what gives him the assurance that the government can make Nigeria safe for all, the minister said: ‘I think we forget so quickly. There has been a time in this country when governance became terribly impossible. A section of this country is hoisting another flag. We can’t go to our churches or mosques. We can’t go to schools. We can’t go about doing our normal businesses.
‘This issue of insecurity and the bombings that we are seeing started right here at the centre of Abuja. There were moments when there were security checkpoints everywhere you went. There were moments when you couldn’t go to work, we couldn’t farm. A city of 10 million people in Kano, they got to the Emir of Kano and shot him, an Emir that reigned for 50 years.