From John Adams, Minna
The Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has said that none of the abducted students of Government Science College Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of the state has been released.
This is even as Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi has asked federal government to give the bandits in the country a ‘blanket amnesty’ as a condition for bringing an end to the insecurity in the country.
Speaking to newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the governor, Gumi said that the federal government should extend the same amnesty given to the Niger Delta militants to the bandits. He said he met with the leaders of different groups of the bandits in the state, adding that, “they all have their complaints but the outcome of the meeting was positive.”
The governor said that no victim of the Wednesday incident has regained freedom. “I can say that everything is being speculated or rumoured about their release and we can’t work with rumour,” he stated.
The governor, while briefing newsmen at the Government House in Minna yesterday on the update of the rescue mission, however said that the government is at the last stage of securing the release of the students. According to him, “the government is still negotiating and we are in the final and last stage of the negotiations.”
The governor did not say with whom his administration is negotiating. He had earlier vowed that he would not pay ransom for the release of any kidnapped victims. The governor, who spoke after a closed door meeting with Sheikh Ahmad Gumi at the Government House, said that the government is interfacing with local communities, state and federal authorities to ensure the release of the school children unhurt.
“We are doing everything and our possible best to get them back safely. We don’t have anything for you for now but we will contact you once we have any information.” On the visit of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi to the state, the governor said that Gumi has volunteered to help in securing the release of the abducted victims, including the general insecurity situation in the state.
The governor pointed out that, “Gumi offered to assist. He came back this morning and has to leave immediately because he has an engagement in Abuja. We agreed that he would send me a comprehensive memo on his findings during his visit to the bandits’ den.”
Governor Bello further said that he will meet with traditional rulers and Fulani heads to discuss how to proffer solutions to the current security situation in the state, adding that, “this is part of the steps being taken by government to reduce the insecurity in the state.
It will be recalled that 42 people made up of 27 students, three staff and 13 relations of the staff were abducted by heavily armed men in the early hours of Wednesday.