…as ACF declares incident a national embarrassment
. Attack an assault on Nigeria’s territorial integrity – Kaduna Assembly Speaker
Bandits who abducted Major Stephen Datong from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Afaka, Kaduna, early Tuesday morning have reportedly demanded the sum of N200million for his release.
This is just as the umbrella Northern socio-political organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum, condemned the bandits’ attack on the NDA, describing it as a national embarrassment.
First News gathered from military sources that the bandits, who later got in contact with the management of the NDA, demanded that the N200million ransom be promptly paid to enable them to set the kidnapped officer free.
The source said that the bandits contacted the military institution’s top brass through phone to make the demand for the ransom.
“They have called our ogas to ask for N200million to release the major,” the source told our correspondent.
It was further learnt that the military helicopter deployed in the forest after the attack on the Academy could not track down the bandits, who eventually escaped with the kidnapped Army officer.
NDA had earlier on Tuesday confirmed the bandits’ attack on the academy and the killing of two officers. It also confirmed the abduction of Major Datong during the attack.
The Academy Public Relations Officer, Maj. Bashir Jajira, in a statement, stated that the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian AirForce had already launched an operation in collaboration with other security agencies to track down the bandits and rescue the kidnapped officer.
“The NDA community and Cadets are safe in the Academy. We assure the general public that these unknown gunmen would soon be apprehended and the abducted personnel rescued,” the Academy spokesperson’s statement added.
But the ACF expressed shock on the bandits’ raid on the institution, which claimed the lives of two officers while another one was kidnapped by the gunmen.
The Forum stated that the incident was a slap and an embarrassment to the country, expressing regrets that the military institution handed bequeathed to Nigeria by her founding fathers had been seized by bandits.
ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, who stated this in a statement in Kaduna, said that the bandits’ attack was a clear indication that the country’s national security architecture was fast collapsing.
According to the Forum, “The ACF, first and foremost, commiserates with the families of those who lost their lives during today’s attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy. These gallant men have paid the supreme price for Nigeria, their motherland. We hope their sacrifices are not in vain.
“The Forum is praying that the abducted officer will be rescued and the criminals who abducted him brought to book.
“The latest security breach is another embarrassment to the ACF. The NDA is a proud monument of the efforts of the first generation of northerners, who fought hard to bring development to the North; the likes of Muhammadu Ribadu, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello, who brought the Institution to Kaduna. They did not bring it here for our generation to hand it over to bandits or whatever we call them.
“This is an institution that is not only a pride of the North but a pride of Nigeria. Many African countries train their military officers here.
“It is really sad that ordinary street bandits will invade a military institution of such high national and international repute, outwit the security system and men there, kill officers and take one away to an unknown destination.
“We of the ACF are particularly sad because Kaduna is our home not only because our headquarters is located here, but for a long time even after the split of our Northern Region, Kaduna remained home to all northerners.
“The NDA is a proud reminder of the achievements of our fathers. Is that how our present generation of northerners will seat and watch as these legacies are destroyed?
“We of the ACF have said it again and again that there is everything seriously wrong with the management of our security. The other day a Nigerian Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by the so called bandits.
“Today, the factory where all Nigerian military officers are produced has been invaded and desecrated. What else do we need to show that our national security system is running on reverse gear?”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Honourable Yusuf Zailani, has described the invasion of the NDA along with the killing and abduction of military officers as an assault on Nigeria’s territorial integrity, which must be treated with all seriousness.
He expressed this in a statement by his Senior Assistant, Media and Publicity, Ibrahim, Danfulani, on Tuesday.
According to the statement, “NDA is Nigeria’s premier training citadel for Nigeria’s Armed Forces, a pride to the country and Africa; hence such a daring attack on the institution is unacceptable and must be investigated by the military hierarchy.’
“It is disheartening and unfortunate for such an attack to have taken place, catching those in charge of its internal security off guard,” he said.
While commending NIgeria’s security personnel for making efforts to decimate bandits and insurgents nationwide, he said they should not let the NDA incident demoralise them.
“I sincerely commiserate with families of those who lost their lives. I am pleased that the NDA’s authorities have given an assurance that the assailants are being trailed and would be apprehended,” he added.
Additional Report by: Ibraheem Muhammad