Vanguard (Lagos)

18 May 2014

Nigeria: IG Orders Tight Security in Benue Schools Over Boko Haram's Threat to Kidnap Boys

Abuja - The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubaka, on Sunday ordered the strengthening of security in all boarding schools in and around Makurdi.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba, in Abuja.

The order is coming on the heel of a recent threat letter, purportedly issued by elements claiming to be Boko Haram members to two all-boys secondary schools, Government College and Mount St. Gabriel College, Makurdi.

Women Arise civil society led by Joe Odumakin (C) accompanied by afro-beat musician Femi Anikulapo Kuti demonstrate to press for the release of missing Chibok school girls in Lagos on May 12, 2014. Boko Haram released a new video on Monday claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging they had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed. AFP

"Consequently, Benue State Police Command, working in conjunction with the State Ministry of Education and the affected school authorities, has strengthened surveillance in the schools and other boarding schools within Makurdi metropolis," the statement said.

It said that the police had begun investigations to determine the "authenticity or otherwise of the hand-written letter (threat) now in possession of the force".

The statement advised residents of communities where boarding schools were located to "remain perpetually on the alert and report any suspicious movement to the appropriate authorities".

The Principal of Government College, Makurdi, Mr Godfrey Ugudu, on Saturday had said that the school had received letter from Boko Haram sect threatening to attack the school.

Ugudu, who announced this at a news conference in Makurdi added that the school received two letters which had the same content on May 14.

"It is true that we saw two letters informing us of the intention of the sect to invade our school on Friday or Monday by Boko Haram.

"The letters were dated May 14, 2014, stating that they were coming either of the two days to abduct our boys whom they would marry to the secondary school girls abducted in Chibok.

"In the letter, we were asked to inform the Mount Saint Gabriel Secondary School opposite us to also get prepared as they promised to invade the place too."

According to him, "we immediately alerted the police and the Commissioner for Education. A report has been made to the Governor on the issue.

"The two letters, which were written in pidgin English, were sighted inside one of the classrooms and the second one was slipped into the staff room", he said.

The principal commended the government and security operatives in the state for their prompt response to the issue.

He said that everything had been done to ensure the safety of the school children, adding that he had informed the Principal of Mount Saint Gabriel.

About 500 out of about 700 students of the college are living in the school while Mount Saint Gabriel is purely boarding school.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Dan Ezeala, confirmed the report and assured that police were on top of the situation. (NAN)

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