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School abduction: Sub-regional forces conspiring against govt, Presidency alleges

Presidency says the recent cases of kidnapping across the country are efforts by subregional geopolitical forces conspiring to undermine the government of President Bola Tinubu.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, made the allegation while speaking on TVC’s Politics on Sunday anchored by Mr. Femi Akande.

Ngelale disclosed that the Federal Government is already receiving support from the United States for the release of students kidnapped in Kaduna.

“I will say this: Across the North, we understand that some of the sub-regional geopolitical forces that are currently at play are actively conspiring against the stability of Nigeria,” he said.

The presidential spokesperson’s comments followed the kidnapping of over 280 pupils and teachers of Government Secondary School and LEA primary school in Kuriga, Kaduna State, on Thursday as terrorists reportedly invaded the Kuriga area of the Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna, shooting at their targets before whisking away the captives.

Locals said the secondary section of the school was relocated to the primary school on account of the council’s insecurity.

A day earlier, the United Nations had confirmed that over 200 persons were abducted from the internally displaced persons camp in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.

The UN, in a statement on Wednesday, by its resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, said the abductees, including women, boys and girls, were captured while fetching firewood.

Although the actual number of IDPs abducted remains unknown, Fall said they may be over 200 persons.

Fall added that the terrorists released some older women and children below 10 years.

But Ngelale affirmed that the Federal Government is on top of the situation and has received support from the US to secure the release of the school children and address the regional forces at play.

He said, “We understand that and we are not sleeping. We are responding to it and we’re doing it in a concerted way, with our neighbours.

“And it is worth noting that the United States government has also pledged its assistance to ensure that there is a full return of all of the schoolchildren who were kidnapped recently in Kaduna.

“But the point is we are going to continue to intensify our collaboration not just within the region, but internationally to make sure that some of the regional actors that are conspiring against our nation are brought to justice and ultimately silenced in the future.”

The presidential spokesman lamented that with increased security in major communities in the Southeast and Southwest, the FG is working to extend coverage to vulnerable far-flung settlements in the North.

He added, “First of all, the President has been very clear that this is an administration of no excuses. If you look at other parts of the countries that were in flames before he took office, such as the Southeast and parts of the Southwest for example, you will know the level of work that has gone into securing our nation.

“Where we still have some challenges is in the North Central in the northwest and to a lesser extent in the Northeast. There’s still a lot of work to be done along the Kaduna axis. Remember the time when you could not travel by road on the Abuja-Kaduna highway? Now, you’re able to do that.

“Now the problem is when you have these far-flung communities, we do have these hit-and-run incidences of not just violence and killings, but obviously kidnappings and hostage-taking.”

Backing the First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, who recently proposed capital punishment for kidnappers, Ngelale said, “I think that there’s going to have to be some sort of robust legislative reform that makes it clear to every citizen of our country that if you kidnap anybody, you will be killed by the justice system.

“There will be a death penalty attached to it. I don’t see how this can be solved if we don’t do this and see to its implementation.”

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