The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate review and strengthening of security arrangements around educational institutions in the country.
The order came on the heels of Friday night's attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State by heavily armed men who abducted some of the students.
The IGP also ordered the deployment of additional operational and investigative assets to support the ongoing search and rescue operations in Kankara and its environs.
Force PPRO, DCP Frank Mba, in a statement yesterday said the deployment which involved personnel from the police tactical squads and crack detectives from the Force Intelligence Bureau would provide investigative support to the Katsina State Police Command.
They are also to work with the military and other law enforcement agents in coordinated efforts aimed at rescuing the students, hunting down the perpetrators and bringing them to book.
He further noted that investigations had so far revealed that one of the attackers was killed and a policeman was injured during the attack.
The exact number of students missing cannot be ascertained at the moment as massive operations including investigations as well as a search and rescue exercise are still ongoing.
In the same vein, President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly condemned the attack, charging the army and the police to go after the attackers to ensure that no student gets missing or harmed.
The president in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu, urged the school authorities to carry out an audit of the population of the students. Parents who rushed to the school and removed their children and wards were also required to notify the school and police authorities in order to have the proper population of the students.
"I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits' attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara. Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured," said President Buhari while pledging to continue to support the police and military against terrorists and bandits.
He added: "In the latest briefing received by the president from Governor Aminu Bello Masari, with whom he has been in touch, and the Army Chief of Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the military, supported by air power, has located the bandits' enclave at Zango/Paula forest in Kankara and there have been exchanging fire in an ongoing operation. The police said so far, there has not been any reported student casualty.
"The president has directed the reinforcement of security in all schools in line with the safe schools policy of the administration."
Northern Govs Condemn Attack
The Northern Governors Forum is enraged over the attack by bandits on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State.
The chairman the forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, in a statement, said the governors totally condemned the unfortunate incident, describing it as regrettable and intolerable.
The statement which was signed by the director of press and public affairs, Simon Makut Macham, said while expressing solidarity with their colleague, Governor Aminu Bello Masari, the government and people of Katsina State, the governors said they stood with the authorities as they would do everything possible to respond to the situation and ensure that no student gets hurt or missing.
Governor Lalong said they remained solidly behind security agents who responded appropriately and had been in pursuit of the bandits to ensure that normalcy is restored and the criminals are apprehended.
He also added that the forum appreciated the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the security forces to deploy every available resource needed to deal with the situation.
Lalong said the prayers of the forum were with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured, even as he called on the citizens to volunteer useful information to security agencies and relevant government bodies to assist in quick resolution of the problem.
Masari Closes Boarding Schools
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has ordered for the immediate closure of all boarding secondary schools in the state.
The directive followed the abduction of an unspecified number of students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara by gunmen suspected to be bandits on Friday night.
According to a press statement made available to Leadership by his Director General on Media, Abdu-Labaran Mallumfashi, the governor spoke on Thursday morning when he visited the school alongside his deputy, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu and other government officials, where he met with school officials, parents, traditional and religious leaders as well as security officials.
The governor, who could not control his emotions, pleaded with the people to be patient and show restraint and understanding, assuring them that government would do every necessary to ensure the release of all the abducted students.
He said security officials including the military, police and Department of State Services had swung into action and were on the trail of the abductors.
Governor Masari further assured that both governments at federal and state levels were doing their best to bring an end to banditry and other criminal activities in the state, the statement added.
He further expressed the government's firm resolve to be ruthless in its engagement with bandits.
We Rescued Over 200 Students - Police
The police command in Katsina has announced the rescue of over 200 students that suspected bandits attempted to kidnap in Government Secondary School, Kankara.
The command's spokesman, SP Gambo Isah, in press statement, said, "Yesterday, 11/12/2020 at about 21:40hrs, Bandits in their numbers, shooting sporadically with AK 47 rifles, attacked Government Science Secondary School, Kankara.
"The policemen on duty also responded to the attack and engaged them in a gun duel which gave the students opportunity to scale the fence of the school and run for safety.
"The DPO reinforced the policemen on duty with an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) which forced the hoodlums to retreat into the forest. One inspector sustained a gunshot wound and was taken to hospital and is responding to treatment. In the course of investigation, the DPO rescued over 200 students back into the school compound," he said.
According to the spokesman, the police, army and air force are now working closely with the school authorities to ascertain the actual number of missing and kidnapped students while search parties are assiduously working to rescue the missing students.
"It will be too early to say at this particular moment the actual number of students that have been kidnapped or missing", he added.
It's Time For Better Strategies To Secure Nigeria - Atiku
Meanwhile, a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has called for the implementation of better strategies to tackle the security challenges across the country, following the attack on the government secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State.
Atiku, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate at the 2019 general elections, said in a statement yesterday that the strategies may have to include the temporary stoppage of the boarding school system, in favour of a day students approach until the situation is brought under control.
He also suggested that the strategies must include 24-hour armed military guard for each school in the affected states.
He said; "The abduction of a large number of students at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State is a very unwelcome escalation of the spate of insecurity in the nation, one which I condemn in the strongest possible terms.
"While I urge our nation's law enforcement agencies to immediately swing to action and rescue the missing students, I am nevertheless conscious of the fact that we cannot continue to be reactionary in our response to the growing insecurity in Nigeria. "I therefore call on the federal government to immediately declare a state of emergency in states bedevilled by banditry and terrorism, for an offensive and decisive war on terror and insecurity.
"For the avoidance of doubt, the emergency I call for should follow the steps prescribed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and case law by leaving all democratically elected state and local government structures intact.
"The rationale is quite simple: We cannot win the war on terror by continuing with the same strategies we have deployed over the last five years. That they have not worked is very glaring, with the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara incidence being the latest in a long line of proofs. No sacrifice is too great to make to return law and order to the affected communities, and that must be the singular focus of the federal government until this menace is eradicated," he said.