The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on insecurity following the kidnapping of school children at the Government Science School Kagara, Niger State.
The upper chamber also asked Buhari to implement the recommendations of a report by its ad hoc panel on security challenges in the country.
The gunmen shot sporadically, with one student feared killed and several others abducted.
The unfortunate incident forced the state governor, Abubakar Bello, to order the immediate closure of all boarding schools in the bandit-ravaged areas of the state.
The Senate resolution followed a point of order moved by Mohammed Musa, the senator representing Niger East.
Leading the debate on the floor of the Senate, Musa informed his colleagues that the gunmen stormed the school wearing military uniforms.
The senator said headcount was being conducted in the school to ascertain the number of students kidnapped, adding that the constitution stipulates that the welfare of citizens should be the primary responsibility of government.
“The bandits were in military uniforms when they attacked the boarding school and overpowered the security guards before whisking away the students. The numbers are yet to be confirmed,” Musa said.
“Headcount is being conducted in the school as we speak to ascertain the number of students kidnapped. The constitution stipulates that the welfare of citizens is the primary responsibility of government, so governments at all levels owe it as a duty to provide adequate security. The abduction is coming on the heels of the yet to be unresolved abduction of 300 students from Kankara, Katsina State,” he said.
In his outburst, Bima Enagi (Niger South) declared that the Buhari regime was incompetent to handle security challenges in the country.
“We need to amend the constitution so that governors should be chief security officers of their states since the government at the centre had failed to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. The federal government is busy giving palliative instead of creating employment, thus aggravating insecurity,” Enagi said.
In his contribution, Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North) also said the kidnappers and bandits were emboldened by the successes being recorded in the state in recent time as about 100 people had so far been kidnapped in the state.
Other lawmakers who spoke lamented the general insecurity in the country, saying it was a clear failure of leadership.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, described the kidnap of the students as unfortunate, but quickly pointed out that security agencies had challenges with personnel and funds.
“Abduction of students from school happens in the northern part of Nigeria. With incidences like this, parents would be scared to take their wards to school, and the efforts of the past and by present leaders at providing education would be defeated. Service chiefs have to secure the schools and have to carry the states along,” Lawan stated.
Meanwhile, senators and Rep members from Zamfara State called on federal government to grant amnesty to armed bandits terrorising the northern part of the country, especially the North West.
Speaking on their behalf, Ya’u Sahabi (Zamfara North) argued that if such action was not taken now, the implications would be more deaths, widows and orphans as the armed bandits would continue in their relentless and nefarious attacks.
He pointed out that the Niger State abduction was disheartening, saying so much was expected from those in leadership positions.
The senator said the root cause of the problem ravaging the region could be traced to Fulani herdsmen whom, he said, were long neglected with no grazing ground and other basic amenities.