Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has ordered the immediate closure of all boarding schools in the state.
The directive was triggered by the abduction of more than 300 students from Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, in the early hours of Friday.
“As we are making efforts to strengthen security around our schools, I have directed the immediate closure of all boarding secondary schools across the State,” Matawalle said in an evening broadcast.
The kidnapping is the latest in a series of attacks, carried out by bandits, on schools across the country’s North.
On February 17, bandits kidnapped 41 students and staff of the Government Science Secondary, Kagara, Niger State.
The Kagara abductees are yet to be returned.
Matawalle, in his evening broadcast, assured the parents of the abducted students that the government will do everything in its power to secure their freedom.
“Currently, police helicopters and other search and rescue operatives have been deployed to the area,” he said. “Members of the public, and most especially the parents and guardians, would be kept informed of developments with regard to this all-important mission.”
Read the Governor’s full speech below:
A SPECIAL BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF ZAMFARA STATE, HON DR. BELLO MOHAMMED (MATAWALLEN MARADUN) ON THE ABDUCTION OF STUDENTS AT GOVERNMENT GIRLS SECONDARY SCHOOL, JANGEBE, TALATA MAFARA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, DELIVERED ON FRIDAY, 26TH FEBRUARY 2021
My dear people of Zamfara State,
2. It is with a heavy heart that I address you this evening on the unfortunate incident of abduction of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of the state.
3. At this trying moment, it is most appropriate for all men and women of good conscience to extend emotional support to the families of the abducted girls. On behalf of the Government of Zamfara State, I wish to extend my deep sympathy to the families of the abductees and the entire people of Jangebe over this sad incident.
4. I wish to assure everyone that we are wholly committed to ensuring a speedy rescue of our dear schoolgirls and reuniting them with their families. Since when I received the sad news, I have been making contacts with the security agencies and other relevant individuals and groups towards rescuing these girls.
5. Currently, police helicopters and other search and rescue operatives have been deployed to the area. Members of the public, and most especially the parents and guardians, would be kept informed of developments with regard to this all-important mission.
6. As a father, I feel the pains of the parents and guardians of the abductees. My heart is with you at this moment and will always be with you throughout the rescue mission. I also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the parents and guardians to exercise more patience and continue to pray for the success of the ongoing rescue mission.
7. Despite this seeming setback, my administration will ever remain focused on its strategy of disarmament. A single bullet in the hands of the non-state rogue elements could result in severe harm to the innocent. I am of the conviction that the large cache of assorted weapons recovered through the disarmament process has made Zamfara State safer despite the recent unfortunate incidents. The type of dangerous weapons recovered through the disarmament process would make the heart of any person of conscience to cringe.
8. My dear good people of Zamfara State, this is not a moment to trade blames. The recent twist in the spate of banditry brings to the fore the need for the adoption of a uniform strategy across all the affected states. We can only defeat this formidable challenge through a united response. Politics or any other difference should not stand in the way of the fight against insecurity. The fundamental objective of governance is to secure the lives and property of the governed. My administration will never relent in the pursuance of this fundamental objective.
9. I appeal to the people of the state to remain calm and resist the evil machinations of those who would want to exploit the current situation to achieve political ends. Insha Allah, with our collective resolve, we would emerge out of this situation stronger.
10. I also call on people to be more security conscious and report any suspicious individuals or activities to the relevant authorities.
11. As we are making efforts to strengthen security around our schools, I have directed the immediate closure of all boarding secondary schools across the State.
12. While we remain appreciative of the efforts by the Federal Government in the fight against banditry and other criminal activities in the State, I wish to appeal for more support towards combatting this challenge, most especially with the new trend the challenge is assuming.
13. May Almighty Allah give us success in the mission of rescuing our schoolgirls and defeating the security challenges confronting our state.
14. Thank you and Wassalamu alaikum
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